Thursday, November 6, 2008

Authentic Leadership: Historical or Histrionic?

As a student of the various forms of leadership that have entered the pantheon of human existence, specifically, the Charismatic Leadership Model, it's marveling that we're still looking for the ideal leadership model. The leaders that are often cononized from Mother Theresa to Martin Luther King, Jr., got me thinking about what people really want in leadership. Do people really want authentic leadership? And if so, does authentic leadership play well in the media? The two questions may be rhetorical or at least fodder for thought. But, it does seem that authenticity is a fleeting term when scrutinized under klieg lights. For example, it has often been said that history repeats itself. This is a natural form of the cyclical dynamics of humanism. But what happens when history replicates itself as a concerted effort by individuals attempting to manifest a specific outcome. In William Duggan's "The Art of What Works," his salient point is that by looking at what has worked successfully in the past, the chances are great that similar methods will work successfully in the present. The final Obama-McCain presidential debate was nothing more than the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debate updated to reflect contemporary sentiments in style and thought. Like the 1960 debate, did camera angles favor Obama over McCain? It's challenging to talk about "authenticity" in a media-centric society without checking the mirror to insure one's hair is not out of place. In Maureen Orth's, "The Importance of Being Famous…," she coins the phrase "Celebrity Industrial Complex" where the actors on the world stage play to the appetite of the populous. If history is our guide, true authentic leadership from Jesus to Julius Caesar has ended with the citizenry slaying the leader and later deifying his relevance.

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