Leadership is a valuable commodity in today’s world where rule is often by committee. Sometimes it takes a single person with the vision and forthright attitude to grab us all by the hand and drag us into a better reality. How do we know that any particular person is right for such a task? More often than we seem to judge leadership suitability and potential on the basis of charisma rather than looking at technical skills or past accomplishments.
At least that’s the view in this contemporary argument presented by this online article. It states that it’s our own emotional attachments and preferences that endear us to a leader rather than a widespread understanding of their abilities and procedures.
One of the main reasons for this kind of behaviour can be laid at the door of attribution theory. If a company or organisation is successful then we assume that the leader is good. Looking at Tony Blair for instance, one of the outstanding orators of his time, the assumption was made that he was responsible for many of the Labour party’s successes. In contrast however now many people look back on his time in government as one of unnecessary war and conflict.
Another example is Margaret Thatcher. In the 1980s many people felt that she was a strong and charismatic leader and followed her for this reason alone. The truth is that when she first came into power her style was autocratic with her critics claiming that she never overcame this flaw. To soften her delivery she worked with image consultants and other coaches who aided her in improving her ability as an orator, which soon became public knowledge. Perhaps in her case it was possible to learn how to project charisma, endearing her to the public?
Conversely we all like to blame leaders and directors when situations start to suffer adverse consequences. Think of the popular image of the football manager. When things are going well then the team are lauded and players are given numerous spotlights and plaudits, but when results take a change for the worse, the blame is heaped at the manager’s door. It may be argued that much of this is media driven, but all too often the media simply plays to the majority view.
The second influential theory that can be applied here suggests that there is a considerable power born out of articulating a shared vision. When a person is able to inspire and at the same time connect with their audience this often has fantastic results. We’ve all seen the opposite situation when a leader loses the confidence of their subordinates and hence spends valuable time and energy wrestling with control and organisational issues, driven by internal fractures and politics.
Personally I agree with the sentiment of this article and agree that leaders should be judged by both approaches, taking into account their attribution and influence. It is of course worth noting that both of these only work when set in the wider context. When you draw in interference from other sources such as racial and gender discrimination and organisational members protecting their own roles through aggression and nepotism.
Think you have what it takes to develop leadership skills? If you would like to gain more confidence and lose the social anxiety over public speaking and presentation. If so then hypnotherapy could give you a boost in the right direction. Book a free consultation session with me to talk through the options available to you.