Friday, November 28, 2008

Is Charisma Important for Leadership?

While some great leaders have been charismatic, charisma is not a necessary ingredient for great leadership. Charisma is a by-product of personality predisposition and socialization, which can be a rare combination. That's the good news! If society had to rely on pure charisma to advance its cause, its cause would be dead. Acronyms and quick quips may be tools used by charismatic personalities, but they don't lead to becoming more charismatic--just the appearance of it. Patterns of charismatic personalities usually entail early social ostracizing, a sense of mission built on a perceived injustice, ego and an inquisitive nature steeped in recreating reality. This is a far cry from standing erect, smiling confidently and remaining calm under pressure. If the manifestation of charisma made people charismatic, it would be a simple process and then charisma wouldn't be so rare.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It Takes Power and Charisma To Woo Women

Women have become more assertive in their personal and professional lives. And while men enjoy the economic incentive of not being required to bring home all the "bacon" (money), men seem to trail women's advancement to a fault.

As a man, like charisma, it's not about "doing" as about "being." The immutable laws that rule the universe are based on strengths and weaknesses. The battle for gender equality broken down to its infinitesimal form was a battle of economic power, which translates into social and personal power. When men no longer controlled the purse strings solely, women asserted more power over relationships, including kicking the man out of bed if he wasn't satisfying her properly. Was the man emasculated by her newfound power? Of course he was! In a civilized society, the only way you can control another person, outside of sanctions against economic opportunities, is to dominate them physically. Since the Civil Rights Movement demonstrated the fallacy of brutalizing a people seeking economic and social equality, it wouldn't work as a strategy against women seeking similar outcomes (and for the record, shouldn't be part of a thought process).

So what has come out of all this advancement for women? Confusion within both genders! There are a cadre of women who want men to take the lead, not by sheer physical force of strength, but by force of intellect and personality. In fact, there are a lot of women who'd give up competing in corporate America, if they could find a man they trusted to be a husband, provider and responsible mate. Men created the independent woman by emotional and physical betrayal.

A man's advanced social and intellectual conditioning towards interdependency with women is the means of balancing the scale. You can't merely do "some" of the preparing and planning to gain the woman's affection and respect, you have to have a strong constitution about how you operate on the world stage. By setting the stage in the initial conversations in suggesting you are in total control of your life and where you want to go, you lay the foundation to where the relationship is going. You don't vacillate and appear confused about your direction. Women are steeped in security--physical and emotional. When you demonstrate a track record of making sound decisions, she will share her assertive power with you. She may be a lion in the workforce, but a kitten in your castle. She's not going to decode for you what all she wants. Sometimes she doesn't even know. By reflecting on past relationships and studying human nature, you began to study behavior patterns to determine its genesis as well as its remedy for progression. The power for gaining the respect and love of powerful women is metaphysical and intellectual. The way to a woman's heart is through her mind. Power is neutral and as Sir Isaac Newton postulated is "Neither lost nor destroyed, but merely transferred from one state to another" (My quotations). Many will argue it's not about power. I say it's all about power! Abolitionist, Frederick Douglas once said, "Power concedes only to power, always did and always will." I have found this statement to be true and live by its tenets.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Barack Obama: Is He The Messiah?

There is no doubt that President-elect Barack Obama's ascension on the world stage is unique and incredible, but to look for past omens as if his birth was the "Immaculate Conception " is a stretch. Obama's opportunities definitely aren't reminiscent for what's typical of a one-parent household in the United States. To be schooled in Hawaii and Indonesia aren't the experiences of upper class Whites in America, let alone one with African blood coursing through his veins.

It was these experiences less the baggage of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton that encouraged 61% of the votes by Whites cast for Obama . There was nothing in Jackson's or Sharpton's past that suggests they could claim to be a "President for All Americans" with a straight face. When Obama claimed egalitarianism, his DNA was proof positive of his position. He used his mixed race parentage, in what would be typically a negative in Black and White Communities, as an asset. The genius of Obama's presidential campaign was that he turned all the negatives into positives. The Civil Rights campaign for the last 40 years had worked in ways Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. couldn't have dreamed. Obama is a combination of extraordinary parenting, post-Civil Rights activism and a changed society, not to mention a frustrated one under the Bush Administration.

Let's not look into the stars for some miracle within President Obama. Miracles and supernatural beliefs tend to taint the idea of human potential. Looking to celestial matter for human potential robs us of full responsibility and participation from what manifests through our hearts and mind. Shakespeare's dictum, "The fault of men lies not in our stars…but in ourselves," goes for our greatness as well as our shortcomings.

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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Monday, November 3, 2008

Is Barack Obama A Cult Figure?

There are various factors that may occur that set forth the conditions best suited for charismatic leadership. First, people have to be fearful and hopeless about current conditions. Secondly, the solutions to the social ills have to correlate with the populous' experience and optimistic feelings about itself. The solution should tap more into the emotional rather than logical region of the psyche. It is at this point where details don't matter. The leader must tap into the emotional heartstrings of adherents and create the logic as they go along. Philosopher Thomas Carlyle noted that people seemed to be hard-wired for "Hero Worship." In this instance, Obama's ascension is a bit different than the normal development of cults. Normally, cults transform paradigms by: Isolating the individual, disorienting him through confusion or fear, retraining through reframing thoughts and experiences to correlate with a new paradigm and reinforcement by gathering old adherents with the new charge. The zeal within Obama adherents is more of what was already there as opposed to what was put there. The Obama craze is a reflection of economic upheaval, America's lackluster position in the world, two major concurrent wars and a pessimism about civilization as it currently exists. If anything, the Obama Camp has done as excellent job of identifying the visceral feelings of Americans and created a campaign to cure what hurts them emotionally and psychically.