“Charisma was first used to describe a special gift that certain individuals possess that gives them the capacity to do extraordinary things.” (Northouse, 2016) In our lesson, we learned of leaders such as Ghandi, Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy who are defined as effective charismatic leaders based on their positive impression on their followers. (PSU) Charismatic leaders have their faults as well, we all do, we are human. Our lesson defines this as the dark side of charisma and gives an example of Former President Bill Clinton. While a charismatic leader, he gave in to the temptation of sex during his life time. A well-known example of his temptation involved Monica Lewinsky. While Clinton was wrong morally and ethically, doesn’t mean that these other leaders don’t have a dark side, maybe they just didn’t get caught or it wasn’t publicized like Clinton’s affairs. But that doesn’t make Clinton’s actions right……
“The personality characteristics of a charismatic leader include being dominant, having a strong desire to influence others, being self-confident, and having a strong sense of one’s own moral values.” (Northouse, 2016) Clinton’s had great people skills which helped to classify him as a charismatic leader. Unfortunately, Clinton used that people skills to entice women, which led to numerous affairs, one in particular that almost resulted in his impeachment. Not only was this behavior morally wrong because of the fact that he is a married man but it is also ethically wrong. Here is the President of the United States having a sexual relationship in the Oval office. According to the APA ethics code, Principle A Beneficence and nonmaleficence relates to this situation with Clinton. This behavior affected the lives of many, not only Clinton, but his wife, his daughter, Lewinsky and the entire nation as a whole because it became a huge news story that almost impeached him. When the government should have been concentrating on our Nation’s concerns, there was focus on this relationship. We can also apply Principle B of the code, which relates to fidelity and responsibility to this situation. President Clinton should have been establishing relationships in which trust wouldn’t be an issue. Not only was his trust questioned with his wife and family but also his staff. Principle E on respect for people’s rights and dignity can also be applied here. President Clinton didn’t think about his family’s dignity, especially his wife, or the dignity of Lewinsky. Although she was a grown woman and knew what she was doing was wrong. President Clinton gave in to the temptation and used his charisma to do that.
While charisma and having great people skills are great to have, it important to know when to use those skills especially when it comes to your morals and ethics. A great lesson learned for our former President, hopefully anyway.
Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and practice (Seventh ed.). Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, Inc.
The Pennsylvania State University. (2016). Ethics and Leadership [online lecture]. Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1791578
American Psychological Association. (2010, June 1). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct: Including 2010 amendments. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/ (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)