Friday, 3 June 2016

Leadership's Dark Side: Hero leadership

In my last post, I talked about Hero leadership.

I have recently read three articles which have dealt with hero leadership, and they are all enlightening on this topic.

Rob Asghar said in his article about Donald Trump that "Some of the wisdom that you read by [... leadership gurus] can make you a better person; but it just can’t explain how SOBs have such a gift for getting into the C-suite" (26 February 2016).

I feel Rob is on the money here: we know how what good leadership looks like, and who we would ideally like to work for, but we still get sucked in by the biggest, most aggressive animal who rides in and tells us that, against what we know to be true, that they can solve all our problems without us having to move a finger.

We get lazy. It is nice to have a parent, so we can be the child, and carefree.

Anna Hensel in her article (25 February 2016, quoting Joshua Rothman) said:
...we get too wrapped up in the "hero narrative" of a leader, writes Joshua Rothman in this week's issue of The New Yorker. We expect the confident figure to be able to save us all. "Our faith in the value of leadership is durable--it survives, again and again, our disappointment with actual leaders," he writes. In fact, our idolization of great leaders may actually be causing us to pick leaders who we think can fulfill the "hero" role, rather than the people who are actually qualified to lead.
Joshua Rothman, also exploring the unusual rise of Donald Trump cites Elizabeth Samet: “If we live in a world of crisis, [...] we also live in a world that romanticizes crisis—that finds in it fodder for an addiction to the twenty-four-hour news cycle, multiple information streams, and constant stimulation” (29 February 2016).

This is what - looking from the outside in - Donald Trump's campaign appears to have been focused on. He seems to have built a crisis, and then offered himself as the only solution: the hero to save America.

The terrible thing is that we are stupid enough to buy this heroic BS. Again. And again. And again...



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