CHARASMATIC LEADERS:Ethical vs Unethical Leadership by Lilit Tadevosyan Kirsh
Charisma is the quality that makes people want to follow you. Its the ability to inspire. People follow a leader because they trust you. Lee IacoccaOverview:Charismatic business leaders are often heralded as corporate heroes by orchestratingturnarounds, launching new enterprises, engaging in organizational renewal or change,and obtaining extraordinary performance from individuals. The effectiveness of theseleaders may be interpreted by executives as an unqualified recommendation for suchleadership in their organizations. However the risks involved in charismatic leadership areat least as large as the promises. What is missing from current discussions about charismais consideration of its darker side.Charisma can lead to blind fanaticism in the service of megalomaniacs and dangerousvalues, or to heroic self-sacrifice in the service of a beneficial cause. (Howell &Avolio,1992)
History has great examples of charismatic leaders who achievedtheir ideas because they were able to influence the public. Heresome leadership quotations that are inspiring and compelling. Oneof the best known by American black civil rights leader once said:“…Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face thedifficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is adream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream thatone day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of itscreed: - We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men arecreated equal.”, -Martin Luther King Jr., 1963.
Individual Qualities of Ethical and Unethical Charismatic LeadersUnethical Charismatic leader Ethical Charismatic Leader•Uses power only for personal gain or Uses power to serve othersimpact Aligns vision with followers’ needs and•Promotes own personal vision aspirations•Censures critical or opposing views Considers and learns from criticism•Demands own decisions be accepted Stimulates followers to think independently andwithout question to question the leader’s view•One-way communication Open, two-way communication•Insensitive to followers’ need Coaches, develops, and supports followers;•Relies on convenient external moral shares recognition with othersstandards to satisfy self-interests Relies on internal moral standards to satisfy organizational and societal interests
Charismatic Leaders: Some Uncommon Denominators When we research the history of the leadership we come to an understanding that the most charismatic and powerful leaders were the ones who serve their people. The leaders who have integrity, charisma, courage, character, humanity; who communicate his or her vision, set a good example, encourage employees, support them, recognize and reward creativity are called “Ethical charismatics”. The leaders who promote self-interest and manipulate their followers to achieve their own goals are called “Unethical charismatics”. Exercising power Charismatic leaders can affect people’s minds, coordinate their actions, and that is the power that needs to be used to master areas of innovation, talent, creativity, understanding, respect and trust because those are areas that will become a stepping stone toward an effective leadership. The good leader will be an example and will inspire his followers. Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “Leadership: the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”Exercising power or influence varies among ethical and unethical charismatic leaders. Ethical charismaticleaders use power in socially constructive ways to serve others.In contrast, unethical charismatic’s exercise power in dominant and authoritarian ways to serve their selfinterests, to manipulate others for their own purposes, and to win at all costs. Power is used for personalgain or impact. (Howell & Avolio,1992)
Creating the VisionEthical and unethical charismatic leaders differ in how they create and express theirvision. Ethical charismatic leaders express goals that are follower driven; their visionsare ultimately responsive to the interests and desires of their followers.Unethical charismatic leaders communicate goals that promote their own personalagenda often to the disadvantage of others. Communicating with Followers To set agendas that represent the interests of their followers, ethical charismatic leaders continuously seek out their viewpoints on critical issues. Open communication is the key principal. Unethical leaders are one-way communicators, close –minded to input and suggestions from others. Accepting Feedback . If there is an objective criticism Ethical charismatic leaders must take it for consideration and not personally. They must look into the problem and find a solution. A good leader will be the one who can overcome his ego and admit his mistakes. People usually have more respects for those who are strong enough to admit their mistakes and learn from them. Ethical charismatic leaders are realistic in their appraisal of their own abilities and limitations. They learn from criticism, rather than being fearful of it. Unethical charismatic leaders have an inflated sense of self-importance, thriving on attention and admiration from others and shunning contrary opinions. Such leaders attract and gravitate towards loyal and uncritical followers.
The charismatic leader needs to so serve and put the interest of his employees first. If one were more concerned about his own affairs he will never be the effective leader who has the respect and trust of his employees. Lao Tsu once said, “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”Stimulating Followers IntellectuallyEthical charismatic leaders encourage their followers to view the world from different perspectives which they themselvesmay not have previously considered.Unethical charismatic leaders expect and even demand that their decisions be accepted without question.Developing FollowersUnethical charismatic leaders are insensitive and unresponsive to followers’ needs and aspirations, while ethical charismaticleaders focus on developing people with whom they interact to higher levels of ability, motivation, and morality.Moral StandardsEthical charismatic leaders follow self-guided principles which may go against the majority opinion. They posse’s threeprimary virtues: courage, a sense of fairness or justice, and integrity.Unethical charismatic leaders follow standards if they satisfy their immediate self-interests. They are adept at managing animpression that what they are doing conforms to what others consider “the right thing to do “.
“Beware charisma! But to beware does not necessarily mean or entail “Avoid”… be Aware! Then choose “ C. Hodgkinson The Impact of Charismatic leaders: Developing or Enslaving Followers Ethical charismatic leaders convert followers into leaders. By expressing confidence in followers’ abilities to accomplish collective goals, and by encouraging followers to think on their own and question the established ways of doing thing, they create followers who are more capable of leading. Unethical charismatic leaders select or produce obedient, dependent, and complaint followers. They undermine followers’ motivation and ability to challenge existing views, to engage in self-development, and to develop independent perspectives.The failure of SuccessEthical charismatic leaders have developed a value system that will help avoid the trappings of success. Moreover, thepromotion of the followers to higher stages of development provides the ethical charismatic leader with critical input that maykeep them from straying down the wrong path.The unethical charismatic leaders tend to believe the praises heaped upon them. Rather than focusing on next challenge,they become preoccupied with maintaining an aura of greatness.Creating and maintaining Ethical Charismatic Leaders“As a transforming force, charisma is charged with explosive, unpredictable potential that, like the genie when released fromthe bottle, is beyond our control.”(Roberts &. Bradley, 1988) Executives and managers need to be aware of the risks ofunleashing its darker side as well as the promises of cultivating its brighter side. Without awareness of the key behaviors,moral standards, and effects distinguishing ethical and unethical charismatic leaders, appointing a charismatic to aleadership position can be dangerous. The attributes which contribute to the unethical charismatic leader’s success inaggressively ascending the corporate ladder may contribute his or her ultimate failure as a leader.
How ethical charismatic developed in the organization?Six key factors are: Top management commitment to a clearly stated code of ethical conductthat is continually enforced helps establish acceptable standards or boundariesfor employee conduct (Hegarty & Sims. Jr., 1979). Recruiting, selecting, and promoting managers with high moral standardsare ways of creating a culture of ethical responsibility. Developing performance standards and rewards that emphasize, for example, respect for people as individuals. Providing leaders with education and training that teaches them how to integrate diverse point of view. Beingable to see the interrelationships among new perspectives and old, lies at the source of moral development (Trevino,1986). Training individuals with necessary personality characteristics, social skills, and motivation to acquire ethicalcharismatic leader behaviors (Howell & Frost, 1990). Training in ethical leadership skills must be consistent with thephilosophy of the top leadership in the company and the company culture. Identifying heroes or heroines who exemplify high moral conduct. Such heroes or heroines need to be heraldedby top management as essential to the long term success of the organization (Kahn, 1990). In conclusion, building internal ethical standards in leaders is challenging undertaking which requires formalcodes of ethical conduct, top management who subscribes to and practice ethical behavior, systems that reinforceethical behavior and role models who exemplify high moral standards. In fact our ethical charismatic leadersreported that the most significant factor influencing their development of values and priorities was role models withwhom they had very direct personal contact.
Conclusion: A Look Towards FutureWe can just say that charismatic leaders of the past,current and future need to have the ethical valuesdescribed in this presentation to be an effective andsuccessful. Times, technology can change but the corevalues will remain the same. Ethical charismaticleaders will be called only the ones that motivate theirfollowers, stay true to core values and set goodexample. Each student of this class will read andshare many examples of charismatic leaders with greatvalues, and leaders who used the power to leadnations to wars and disaster. What kind of leaders wechoose to be will depend on our values and our visionof being successful leaders.
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