Social Reality: Violence, Power, and Change
The Dynamics of Power - Part 3 - Characteristics of Leadership
On this series on the Dynamics of Power in Part 1 we talked about the Legitimacy of Authority and in Part 2 about the Models of Leadership and in this post we will analyze the Characteristics of Leadership,. followed by two posts about the Interrelationship and Decision-making processes.
Leadership is a phenomenon where a person invested with hierarchical Power interacts in a group, using a set of interpersonal influences in a given context and the communication processes to create motivation to achieve determined strategic results.
"I think it only makes sense to seek out and identify structures of authority, hierarchy, and domination in every aspect of life, and to challenge them; unless a justification for them can be given, they are illegitimate, and should be dismantled, to increase the scope of human freedom". - Noam ChomskyAnother definition was given in the previous post showing that the culture Culture (Past) of the system conditionates the Political , Economic and Organizational Climate(present) that is transformed by Leadership and people (Future) to be reabsorbed in the Culture.
1- The Potential of Leadership
The Potential of Leadership can be expressed in how much Power one individual can get under the influence of a group and situational factors.
We are not going to focus in the perspective of the leader's traits of or attributes, but how their personality creates a process of identification in the subordinated., like self-confidence and interpersonal sensitivity (normally not seen in autocratic leadership).
We want to know the conditions for the emergence of leaders with influence and legitimated by the process of their acceptance by the people.
The desire of being a Leader normally attracts people that support and accepted his/her position, using motivation and rewarding to influence in a positive way and accomplish tasks that need to be led by a central person.
The Potential of Leadership is determined by the group and the situation conditions, that augments the latent capacities of the leader based on the personal history and social experiences.
Other studies emphasized the dimension of the valence of Leadership that is expressed in individuals that contribute more for the situations their group problem-solving capacity, based in the positive power of attraction for identification (influence without imposition) or a negative one (coercion and punishment).
This is based on the assumption people have that the actions of the leader respond to their needs.
So the Potential for Leadership is a function of people's evaluation how the leader responds to their expectancies.
2 - The Leader with Charisma
In social day-to-day life, the chief alone is seen as the vortex of the social tissue's organization and stabilization.
"One leader, one people, signifies one master and millions of slaves". - Albert CamusWeber in 1947 identified the concept of the authority of the charismatic Leader based in subjective possession of a "gift" of qualities of creating people's affective dependency based on love and admiration.
"Recognition by those who are dominated decides the validity of the charism" - Max WeberMoscovici proved that this reciprocity was a mystification based on the illusion that people have to be like, and depend on the leader, subordinating their will with voluntary acceptance of submission.
Weber saw charismatic leaders as a kind of prophets to define new rules and beliefs for the functioning of society, and they are obeyed, feared, and followed on the base of exemplary qualities.Weber recognized that charisma is irrational because it is empowered by "magical powers", that reveals the hidden ideal of the ego of people in the process of identication.
As Freud said,the leader is the ideal of our ego by identification.
"Power is the domain, the control, and therefore a very selective form of truth, which is a lie." - Wole Soyinka Seneca
3- Leadership as a Style
The problem with ancient theories of Leadership is to see the leader as a static capacity of a person to be a leader in any circumstances.
That's where the concept of Style associated with malleability to choose a style in the function of his personal inclinations that responds to the situation, the structuring of the tasks, and subordinates demands.
We are going to finish this post with Kets the Vries, that in 1980 described five types of leaders with styles associated with pathologies like neurosis, psychosis, and depression: The compulsive, the theatrical, the depressive, the paranoid and the schizoid.
- The Compulsive - he/she is afraid of the forthcoming events, so he standardizes, programs rigidly, and prepares obsessively every detail, and uses domination and submission so that there is no space for the subordinates to have initiative.
- The Theatrical - is a controller that has a fixation on the desire of being ahead of the situations, and he takes unreflective measures, in an impulsive way, even assumes contradictions and incongruent risks, just to satisfy his/her will for power. He takes credit for any success and totally minimizes people and blocks ascendent communication making people feel totally dominated and coerced.
- The Depressive - with low self-esteem and feeling hopeless to change events he/she sticks to the old rules and programs, and have total resistance to change, using mainly bureaucratic control, coercion and to generate total passivity.
- The Paranoid - He/she doesn't trust anybody and is always looking for hidden motives hostile to him/her so he minuciously spies, watch, pursuit to confirm their suspicions. She/ He is allergic to change, creativity and innovation making people feel asfixiated, diluded, insecure, and helpless.
- The Schizoid - is always afraid of the consequences of interacting with others, and tries to escape by isolation, nervousness, incoherence and without objectives, and people have to make decisions, and fight for it but always unconsciously waiting for the boss approval. This fixed categories are very difficult to find in reality pure "caricatures" of this state, but they are combined in people's personality, that can have more then one pathology trait that ifluences the Style of Leadership. On this series on the Dynamics of Power in Part 1 we talked about the Legitimacy of Authority and in Part 2 about the Models of Leadership, in this post we have analyzed the Characteristics of Leadership, and the next two posts are about the Interrelationship and Decision-making processes.
- Part 1 - The Legitimacy of Authority
- Part 2 - The Models of Leadership
- Part 3 - Characteristics of Leadership- this post
- Part 4 - The Relation in Leadership
- Part 5 - Decision-making and Leadership