The coronavirus pandemic has created a dark time where individuals will search for answers and comfort from respectable leaders. History has depicted the influence leadership has when there is a time of need. Religious leaders offer support using authentic and ethical approaches to help guide communities through belief. While most religious figures are deemed positive, there have been leaders who left behind a history of controversy. The abuse of leadership approaches can manipulate a community to believe in a faith built from cult.
Lafayette Ron Hubbard is viewed as a prominent figure in the church of scientology. It is a religion that has grown to have a net worth of 1.2 billion dollars. Hubbard was a science fiction writer who used elements from philosophy and psychology to form a mental health system called dianetics. He followed up by writing books about his new health maneuver, but it lead to a unsuccessful business venture. While there was a setback, he continued by reshaping his ideas to make a religion. Based on the intrapersonal perspective, an authentic leader exhibits genuine leadership, and leads from conviction (Northouse, 2016). Hubbard was not leading through authenticity because of his approach through personal gain. He has created a system where individuals have to pay money to achieve insight on how to achieve spiritual enlightenment. The exchange connection between a leader and follower is similar to the description of transactional leadership. Scientology has a level based system where individuals have to pay for more teachings. Followers can spend up to 130,000 dollars to receive the highest auditing level. Relational transparency is a component of authentic leadership, and it refers to the honesty leaders must maintain with their followers (Northouse,2016). Hubbard was known for borrowing ideas from German idealism and eastern teachings such as Hinduism. He made followers believe he could unearth their memories from the prenatal period and past lives (Genter, 2017).
When it comes to his critics, Hubbard has encouraged an attack the attacker policy against people who do not believe in his methods. He would make false accusations by going through extensive research about his doubters. This is an unethical approach that he instills on to his followers. Weak leaders take disagreements personally, and are unable to be open to a difference in opinion. Experienced leaders would engage in the discussion because it can spark a new train of thought. Leaders who have no barriers follow the ethical theory of the altruism approach. For example, Gandhi relinquished everything in his life to pursue his passion to serve humanity. Despite having a successful career, he wore nothing but loin cloth to express his desire to be equal to the poor people of India. His approach required no material items to talk with people. While people from Islam disagreed with him, they respected his genuine act to build communication and form friendships.
The current stressful times show how valuable proper guidance is to a nation. There can be continuous panic and disorder if incompetent individuals hold a position of leadership. Self-isolation has placed more emphasis on leaders to inspire with a vision. Great leaders will know how to bridge communication across different environments. Honesty is the core of leadership, and people can overcome stressors when trust is gained.
Northouse, P.G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and Practice. 7th Edition. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.
Genter, R. (2017). Religion and American Culture. Retrieved from