by providing an emotional intermediary that salvages the power of fear
and love but dispenses with the liabilities of both: the hatred generated
by fear; the fickleness invited by love. But charisma serves this purpose
only by introducing opacities and misunderstandings of its own. Thus
I have suggested, albeit briefly, that trust would be a much better
emotional vehicle for the discussion of leadership than charisma.
Can an evil leader be an effective leader? It is tempting to reject the stipulative
definition: that is, define a "leader" or a "good / effective leader" as an "ethical
leader," thus stipulating Koresh and Hitler out of consideration. But making ethics
a necessary condition for leadership simply begs the question, What distinguishes
between good and bad (even evil) leaders? The second temptation to avoid is a
pseudo-Weberian religious analysis, such that the quality of charisma, which is
deemed essential to true leadership, is by its very nature "blessed." We know (as
did Weber) that the voice of God seems to be heard by some very unlikely and
unlikable ears. For a good discussion of this, see
R. Heifetz, Leadership without Easy
Answers ( Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994).
One can often choose to be a follower without being chosen, but one cannot
be a leader without being chosen, in some sense, to lead (even those who, in Shakespeare's phrase, have leadership "thrust upon them").
I have benefited from several excellent books in the field:
Heifetz; Jay A. Conger
, The Charismatic Leader ( San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1989); and, of course, James MacGregor Burns, Leadership ( New York: Harper, 1978).
For example, Heifetz, who begins Leadership without Easy Answers with "Leadership arouses passions", 13.
Conger remarks, "They [charismatic leaders] touch
Robert C. Solomon, The Passions ( New York: Doubleday, 1976; Indianapolis: Hackett, 1993).
The role of emotionality in leadership, as opposed to emotions, is complex.
An interesting illustration is crying, an explicit display of becoming emotional. Senator Ed Muskie reputedly lost his bid for the Democratic nomination for the
presidency when he cried at a press conference during the primaries. Jimmy Carter
cried upon losing the 1980 election to Ronald Reagan; his act was treated with
considerable disdain. Congresswoman Pat Schroeder cried in public about the same
time, but reactions were more mixed, ranging from "just like a woman" to "crying
Joseph C. Rost, Leadership for the Twenty-First Century ( New York: Praeger, 1991).
In fact, I would argue that the misguided search for definitions in the social
sciences more often paralyzes than clarifies research. Precipitous attempts at definition distort and falsify both hypotheses and data and provoke debates that, by the
very nature of the case, cannot be resolved before the research is well under way.
The hidden model here, I believe, is that of Socrates, developed twenty-five hundred
years ago. Socrates also searched by definitions, but he believed that a definition
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Ethics: The Heart of Leadership.
Contributors: Joanne B. Ciulla - Editor.
Place of publication: Westport, CT.
Publication year: 1998.
Page number: 105.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may
not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.