Transformation Leadership (Northouse, 2013) differentiates between two specific types of Leadership, transactional and transformational. Transactional leadership focuses on exchanges between leaders and followers; and transformational leadership is essentially the leader engages connects to and raises morality in the followers. I found myself very drawn to the concept of psuedotransformational leadership, defined as “leaders who are self-consumed, exploitive, and power oriented, with warped moral values (Bass & Riggio, 2006)” (Northouse, 2013, p. 187) and how that relates the characteristic of charisma that is also addressed as a part of the transactional leadership theory. I can recall early in the semester choosing a leader to write about in relation to the trait approach to leadership; aaccording the our text the five main leadership traits that were found to resurface in each of the studies done of Leadership Traits that were addressed (studies by Stogdill, 1948 & 1974; Mann, 1959; Lord, DeVader, and Alliger, 1986; Kirkpatrick and Locke, 1991; and Zaccaro, Kepm, and Bader, 2004) were Intelligence, Self-confidence, Determination, Integrity, Sociability. (Northouse, 2013). I chose an immoral leader, Charles Manson, where he fit all of the facets of that model except for integrity (as would be defined by your average person). I feel like addressing this type of leader (like Charles Manson) under the microscope of charisma and psuedotransformational leadership would fit in to helping us examine effective leadership in negative way.
Psuedotransformational leadership definition as given above, can describe numerous effective but not “good’ leaders that we have seen in history. We can start with Charles Manson, notoriously warped ideas, so warped and yet believably powerful that he was able to convince young people to commit heinous murders. In fact there is not one part of the definition that he does not fit. Cult leaders such as Manson are all fantastic examples of this definition. Marshall Herff Applewhite who started the Heaven’s Gate cult and convinced 39 people to commit a mass suicide. Some leaders in the work setting have trouble getting their subordinates to help other departments and these immoral leaders were able to lead people to death/killing, we can’t ignore the amount of charisma that had to be present for them to be this powerful.
When I hear the term charisma I always tend to think about it coming from a manipulative source. Perhaps I watch too many documentaries, but I think if someone is being purposely charismatic it is because whatever they are hoping to get people to do, is something that possibly shouldn’t be done. I feel like if a desired result is “right” there won’t be a need for that kind of charming of the follower. I am naturally very weary of the overly-charismatic. Serial killers like Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Ed Gein among others have all been described as charismatic. It isn’t just limited to those types of immorality, we can look at political leaders who would fit the bill as well, Adolf Hitler’s charisma drew the Germans in. Cult leaders as mentioned above had to display an over-abundance of charisma. On the biography channels website they said it best; “Combine a charismatic personality with fringe beliefs and an appetite for violence, and you get some of history’s most notorious cult leaders” (Cult Leaders, 2013). The definition of charisma defined by House is “being dominant, having a strong desire to influence others, being self-confident, and having a strong sense of one’s own moral values” (Northouse, 2013, p. 188). Find any human being who was able to convince other people in wrong doing or was able to lead people even individually into dangerous situations because their charisma was enough to make them be seen as trustworthy, and I am pretty sure they will be described in the definitions here of charisma and psuedotransformational leadership.
I appreciate the fact that pseudotransformational leadership was pointed out and addressed because I think it is so important to see that not everyone who leads, is leading in the right direction. I also like the tie in to charisma and how the definition in the Northouse readings specifies that they “have a strong sense of one’s own moral values” (Northouse, 2013, p. 188) not moral values in general, but their own, whether society sees them as right or wrong. It is a dangerous thing when a personal as skewed morals, and the charisma to make other people lose their own judgment and follow them.
Northouse, P.G. (2013). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Los Angeles: Sage Publications
Cult Leaders. (2013). The Biography Channel website. Retrieved 12:39, Nov 02, 2013, from http://www.biography.com/people/groups/cult-leaders
Marshall Herff Applewhite. (2013). The Biography Channel website. Retrieved 07:27, Nov 03, 2013, from http://www.biography.com/people/marshall-herff-applewhite-236006