Kaylee Mulholland

unnamed

Introduction

I am thinking of pursing the topic of true leaders and how they develop or social media and crisis management. As I was browsing through different communications and business journals, I found these topics to be of great interest to me. I was already interested in the development of a true leader and how these people are different from other leaders. I feel that I could learn a lot about leadership with this topic. Social media and crisis management interests me as public relations is a career I am interested in. Seeing the discussion on this topic immediately reminded me of the “I’m Safe” feature on Facebook and the misuse of the technology. The pros and cons of social media use and crisis management make this topic obviously argumentative. In contrast, the leadership topic is not viewed as controversial, but I still feel that there is a lot I could say on the issue. My perspective on leadership is very different from the views I found online. For the topic of social media and crisis management I don’t have a stance yet. These topics are very different but they relate to future careers I may pursue. The information yet to be explored for both of these topics make them very interesting to me. I feel that both of these topics would be relevant to my audience, so I need to do more research to find what others and myself are most interested in.

Part I: Position

I have held various leadership positions in my school and community: co President of DECA, competition manager, vice president of Student Council, and Sunday School teacher. Knowing that I have been a leader in various aspects of my life, people tend to believe that I value leading more than following. However, I have also been a follower. For the past four years in pep club, I have not led a single activity, but I have still made a difference! It is true that I enjoy leading more than following, but I feel that it is important to show that followers are important. Followers are often under valued and do not get credit for change but not all followers should get credit either. In addition, people may be under the wrong assumption that all leaders are good leaders. I intend to bring awareness and evaluate these different types of people. In my paper, I will objectively explain the value of both leaders and followers and how society’s perception of these groups is not always accurate.

Part II: Definition

One of the most important terms for my paper is leader. A leader is a person who guides or influences others to action. The term leader comes from Middle English, but leaders have been present since people have been present.Who is considered a leader can be subjective and there are many different types of leaders. For the purpose of my essay, I will outline several types of leaders. The first type of leader is the successful or effective leader. These leaders get things done, their goal is accomplished and often make a lasting impact. In comparison, a failed leader is unable to accomplish their goals. This could be due to poor leadership skills or a lack of followers. The types of leaders that are often overlooked are ethical and heinous leaders. Ethical leaders help others and assist in society’s advancement. In contrast, heinous leaders misuse their abilities and cause harm to others. Another important term for my paper is follower. A follower is someone who accepts another’s beliefs, acts similarly to, or takes the guidance of another person. Follower is considered to be a Middle English or Old English word. Ironically, the word follower predates that of leader. The word leader tends to have a positive connotation; scholarships, colleges, and relatives all want to know how you have been a leader. In fact, defining the term leader is often used in scholarship essays. In comparison, the term follower tends to have a negative connotation. People often perceive a follower as someone who lacks initiative or originality; however, this is often not the case.

Part III: Literature Review

Leadership and followership. These antonyms have long been the topic of dispute. With so many questions and differing opinions it can be difficult to find any one satisfying answer. Nevertheless, that is what many attempt to do and many feel that they have found the answer.

Are leaders or followers more important?

One thing that almost everyone can agree upon is that both leaders and followers are necessary for the success of society. However, the need for leaders and followers is quite different. Management consultant, Rob Asghar would say that followers are more important than leaders. Asghar argues, “Good, skilled followers are able to nurture good leadership, by invisibly helping keep a novice leader upright and on track” (Asghar par. 1). Many leaders do not act constructively and it is up to their followers to make sure that tasks get completed ethically (Asghar par. 2). Furthermore, many followers actually have better ideas and more skills than leaders (Clemens par. 4). In the Ivey Business Journal, it states that, “one does not reach progressively more responsible leadership positions without… an ability to follow” (par. 6).

In contrast, many people feel that leaders are more important to success than leaders. Change starts with leaders and without their initiative things would not get done. Leaders develop ideas and encourage success in others. Sandra Larson, an executive of MAP for Nonprofit says, “One has to try to think out of the box to have good visions and to come up with effective strategies that will help advance the vision” (par. 5). Leaders help foster skills in followers and train them to be the best that they can be (Winston and Patterson par. 10). If leadership were not superior to followership, people would not always aim to be leaders (McCallum par. 3). No school or organization promotes bettering followership skills because that is not what employers or others value (McCallum par. 3). Furthermore, leadership has more intrinsic rewards than followership. Those who are leaders have more opportunities to express creativity and often have better worldviews than that of followers (Larson par. 5).

Now that the stark differences between leaders and followers has been identified and that the importance of these people has been evaluated it opens up the question of:

Can followers be leaders and vice versa?  

The answer to this question is more complex. Knowing the differences between leaders and followers, one may be inclined to answer no. However, everyone is a follower to another person or thing. Whether you believe in a supreme being or not you follow. Whether you have offspring or not you lead. Even a CEO, must follow the guidelines of his country and even a toddler leads his peers (McCallum par. 6). While the ability to be both a follower and a leader is present, there is not a blurred line between the two. A person may act as a leader at times and a follower at others but never both at the same time. This philosophy mimics that of wave particle duality in chemistry. To be a leader you must lead. To follow you must follow. It defies the laws of common sense to be able to do both at the same time.

Are all leaders deserving of the title “leader”?

Often people are uncomfortable using the label leader for people who have committed heinous acts. When people hear of Hitler, their first reaction is not often, “Wow. He must have been a great leader to accomplish all of that.” This hesitancy is also seen in the popular literary work of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. When Ollivander remarks, “After all, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named did great things. Terrible, yes, but great,” both Harry and the reader are appalled at his seeming praise of a vicious man (“Quotes” par. 1). This discomfort of using the term leader can be due to the positive connotation people tend to have towards the word. While the official definition of a leader is, “one or more people who selects, equips, trains, and influences one or more follower(s) who have diverse gifts, abilities, and skills and focuses the follower(s) to the organization’s mission and objectives causing the follower(s) to willingly and enthusiastically expend spiritual, emotional, and physical energy in a concerted coordinated effort to achieve the organizational mission and objectives,” many people cannot relate to this definition (Winston and Patterson par. 5). Most people agree with Ray Penning, cofounder of Cardus, explains leadership like this, “Leadership is something good and beautiful, essential to living together with any semblance of order and prosperity… It may not belong on the hero’s podium, but it does belong on a podium” (par. 4). Larson agrees with this statement and says that people who “lead” like Hitler or Voldemort should be considered manipulators, not leaders (par. 1). With this in mind, the term leader should be reserved to people who have acted constructively and ethically.

Wrapping it Up

Several questions still remain regarding leadership and followership. To better grasp the differences between these two groups of people, examples should be examined. By thoroughly analyzing current and historical examples of leaders and followers, an improved working definition of the groups and understanding can be gained. Overall, leadership and followership are much disputed, but one thing can be agreed upon: leaders and followers are necessary.

Works Cited

Asghar, Rob. “Why Followership Is Now More Important Than Leadership.” Forbes. Forbes, 17 Jan. 2016. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

Clemens, Dave. “Leadership vs. Followership: Do We Really Mean ‘Versus’?” Thin Difference. Thin Difference, 19 Apr. 2014. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

Larson, Sandra. “What Makes for an Effective Leader?” Free Management Library. Authenticity Consulting, LLC, 2017. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

McCallum, John S. “Followership: The Other Side of Leadership.” Ivey Business Journal. Richard Ivey School of Business Foundation, Sep. 2013. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

Pennings, Ray. “Can Bad People Be Good Leaders?” Cardus. Cardus, 1 Apr. 2004. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

“Quotes for Mr. Ollivander.” IMDb.com. IMDb.com Inc., 2017. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

Winston, Bruce and Kathleen Patterson. “An Integrative Definition of Leadership.” International Journal of Leadership Studies. Regent University, n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

Part IV: Literature Review

Which came first, the leader or the follower? Does the answer to this question even matter? Leaders and followers have been a topic of discussion even before these terms were coined. While almost anything regarding leadership and followership can be disputed, there are several questions that many researchers find puzzling.

Are leaders or followers more important?

In an Unplugged Management article, Alvesson and Blom say, “leadership relations without followers do not make sense, and the absence of the latter undermines or even precludes leadership” (267). The relationship between leaders and followers is symbiotic; they benefit each other, and survival without the other is made difficult or nearly impossible. To answer the question of “Are leaders or followers more important?” the correct answer would be neither. Both leaders and followers are equally important to the success of society. Colette Hoption, a professor of management at Seattle University, argues that “followers are partners in leadership” and that the relationship between the two has “bidirectional influence” (129). This means that followers guide leaders just as much as leaders guide followers. The belief that leaders are superior to followers is founded in false connotations and misunderstanding of the definition of leader (Hoption 129). The positive stigma surrounding leaders creates a negative connotation of followers. People often believe that followers are passive or dependent; however, this is not the case (Hoption 129). Both leaders and followers are important to the same degree.

Can followers be leaders and vice versa?  

The distinction between leaders and followers becomes more blurred each day. Alvesson and Blom, argue that leaders and followers are not formal positions (267). Instead, “leadership needs to be considered not just as a process in which leaders issue instructions to followers, but as a relational phenomenon in which followership is a key element, calling for people to see themselves as followers” (267). When viewing leadership and followership as willing processes, one can deduct that a person can be a leader and a follower at the same time. As will be discussed in future sections, a person can never only be a leader. Everyone acts as a follower at some time. This relationship can best be identified with examples. A governor may lead his state but he must also follow his nation’s governing officials. For one to only be a leader, they would be a supreme or divine being.

Are all leaders deserving of the title “leader”?

In the Harvard Business Journal, Barbara Kellerman makes a simple statement that answers this question nicely, “Scholars should remind us that leadership is not a moral concept” (par. 26). The positive connotation of leadership, which has caused many other issues, is also to blame for people’s unwillingness to consider those who act immorally leaders (Kellerman par. 15). Kellerman reaffirms this when she says, “Some leaders achieve great things by capitalizing on the dark sides of their souls” (par. 19). As Penning puts it, not all leaders are “trustworthy, brave, and generous” and that leaders can be “deceitful, cowardly, and greedy” (par. 3). He even goes as far to say that believing that all leaders are good shows an ignorance to the human condition (Penning par. 3). While some prefer to call immoral leaders manipulators or power wielders, this further distorts the definition and connotation behind the term leader. The official definition of a leader is, “one or more people who selects, equips, trains, and influences one or more follower(s) who have diverse gifts, abilities, and skills and focuses the follower(s) to the organization’s mission and objectives causing the follower(s) to willingly and enthusiastically expend spiritual, emotional, and physical energy in a concerted coordinated effort to achieve the organizational mission and objectives” (Winston and Patterson par. 5). There is no mention of ethics in the definition of leadership because a leader not need be ethical; however, this does bring into question…

What types of leaders are there? What are their differences?

The main types of leaders are ethical, immoral, successful, and unsuccessful. The easiest distinction between leaders is that of successful and unsuccessful. Successful leaders achieve their goals while unsuccessful do not. Unsuccessful leaders include former Michigan governor Rick Snyder. In an effort to save money, Snyder “ordered the state to take over management of… economically insolvent cities” (Rodrick and Atkinson par. 16). In an effort to save money, the state switched Flint’s waterline to the Flint River, which residents referred to as a “historical industrial sewer” (Rodrick and Atkinson par. 12). After switching the pipeline, residents became ill from “fecal coliform bacteria, low dissolved oxygen, plant nutrients, oils, and toxic substances” (“Flint” par. 7). Despite pleas for help, Snyder and other officials still claimed the water was safe to consume. Their failure to listen to the citizens resulted in twelve deaths, numerous hospitalizations, and an uncertain future (“Flint” par. 39, 43). Snyder was an unsuccessful leader as he failed to protect his people. In comparison, a successful leader would be someone like Nelson Mandela. Mandela became South Africa’s first democratically elected black president, but before he took office he underwent major struggles (Shoemaker par. 2). Shoemaker, the executive chairman of Decision Strategies International said, Mandela “steered secret government meetings towards the abolishment of apartheid and free elections” all while he was imprisoned (par. 2). Nelson Mandela was successful in achieving “non-violent, voluntary transfer of power by a strong minority group to a hostile majority” (Shoemaker par. 12).

It is more difficult to distinguish between ethical and immoral leaders. Ethical leaders act for the good of society and others. They do not put themselves or financial gain first. In contrast, immoral leaders act for their benefit; they disregard others and the impact they have. The difference between these leaders is perceptual. The definition of good or bad or ethical or immoral is a matter of moral longitude. However, most can agree upon the previously stated definitions and the common examples of each type of leader. Mahatma Gandhi is one of the most recognized ethical leaders. Gandhi denounced violence and encouraged his followers to do the same (“Mahatma” par. 1). He was able to accomplish many governmental reforms and was said to “initiate the movements against colonialism, racism, and violence” (“Mahatma” par. 44). Few would dare to argue that Gandhi acted unethically, but it is more difficult to gain consensus on immoral leaders. Despite this difficulty, most people agree that Hitler was an immoral leader. Adolf Hitler was the leader of the “systemic destruction of almost six million European Jews” (Olick and Anderson par. 1). Hitler devised this solution to impurity and did not care what stood in his way of creating a superior race. The difference between Gandhi and Hitler is that Gandhi saved people, he brought them freedom and understanding. Hitler didn’t even give them a burial.

Now what?

Leaders and followers may be equal, but surely not all leaders are equal. The fundamental differences between leader types and how they develop must still be researched. What impacts the type of leaders people become? How does the follower’s perception of a leader impact their action? Furthermore, questions of understanding and action remain. How can we reconstruct the stigmas surrounding leaders and followers? With so many questions and many opinions regarding leadership and followership remaining, there is little left that can be answered accurately.

Works Cited

Alvesson, Mats and Martin Blom. “Less Followership, Less Leadership? An Inquiry Into the Basic But Seemingly Forgotten Downsides of Leadership.” Unplugged Management. EBSCOhost, June 2015. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.

“Flint Water Crisis Fact Sheet.” CNN.com. CNN.com, 22 Feb. 2017. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.

Hoption, Colette. “Learning and Developing Followership.” Journal of Leadership Education. EBSCOhost, June 2014. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.

Kellerman, Barbara. “Leadership- Warts and All.” Harvard Business Review. Harvard Business Publishing, Jan 2004. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.

“Mahatma Gandhi.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2017. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.

Olick, Jeffrey, and Shannon Latkin Anderson. “The Holocaust.” International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.

Pennings, Ray. “Can Bad People Be Good Leaders?” Cardus. Cardus, 1 Apr. 2004. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

Rodrick, Stephen and Scott Atkinson. “Who Poisoned Flint, Michigan?” Rolling Stone. EBSCOhost, 11 Feb. 2016. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.

Shoemaker, Paul J.H. “Lasting Legacy: Nelson Mandela’s Evolution as a Strategic Leader.” Knowledge at Wharton. University of Pennsylvania, 9 July. 2009. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.

Winston, Bruce and Kathleen Patterson. “An Integrative Definition of Leadership.” International Journal of Leadership Studies. Regent University, n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

Part V: The Position Paper

Dispelling Leadership Myths

I was born a leader. I came out of the womb with a confidence and tenacity for change that both awed and worried my parents and teachers. When I was four, I convinced my sister to clean my room and do my chores. By the age of eight, my teachers consistently put me in charge of the class when they left. In high school, I was elected vice president of Student Council and held positions of competition manager and president in DECA. All of my life I have been a leader. I don’t just like being a leader; I crave it. Spending the majority of my life as a leader or near other leaders, I have become familiar with the many myths surrounding leadership. I have firsthand witnessed the dangerous effects these myths which hinder our understanding of ourselves and others. In particular, there are three myths which pose the greatest danger to society.

The official definition of a leader is, “one or more people who selects, equips, trains, and influences one or more follower(s) … and focuses the follower(s) to the organization’s mission and objectives causing the follower(s) to willingly and enthusiastically expend … energy in a concerted coordinated effort to achieve the organizational mission and objectives” (Winston and Patterson). This definition creates a positive connotation of the term leader, and consequently a negative connotation of the term follower (Hoption 129). The connotations surrounding these terms are the cause of the first myth.

Myth 1: Leaders are more important than followers.

Those who favor leadership believe that change starts with those who develop ideas and encourage success in others: leaders. Leaders are also seen to benefit from more intrinsic rewards than followers and have more opportunities to express creativity and create change (McCallum; Larson). As I am a leader, one may expect me to hold similar beliefs. However, as a leader, I know that my success depends upon my followers.

Without followers there could not be leaders. In an Unplugged Management article, it is expressed that, “leadership relations without followers do not make sense, and the absence of the latter undermines or even precludes leadership” (Alvesson and Blom 267). Furthermore, the rewards that leaders receive are created by followers. Management consultant Rob Asghar argues, “Good, skilled followers are able to nurture good leadership, by invisibly helping keep a novice leader upright and on track.” Many leaders do not act constructively, and it is up to their followers to make sure that tasks are completed ethically (Asghar). Followers are also capable of promoting ideas that may exceed that of their leader. Colette Hoption, a professor of management at Seattle University, states that leaders and followers are partners and that the relationship between the two has “bidirectional influence” (129). This means that followers guide leaders just as much as leaders guide followers. The belief that leaders are superior to followers is founded in false connotations and misunderstanding of the definition of leader (Hoption 129).

While one may use the preceding fact to argue for the superiority of leaders or followers, the facts actually balance the importance of both groups. The relationship between leaders and followers is symbiotic; they benefit each other, and survival without the other is made impossible. It may be true that “an organization is only as good as its leaders” but it is also true that “it is only as good as its followers” (McCallum).

Myth 2: Only good people are leaders, good leaders do good things, and bad leaders do bad things.

This compound myth shows our failure to understand what a leader truly is and leaves us prey to believing that if a person is a leader they must be good. The positive connotation of leadership is to blame for people’s unwillingness to consider those who act immorally as leaders (Kellerman). In the Harvard Business Journal, Barbara Kellerman says, “Scholars should remind us that leadership is not a moral concept.” Leaders can be “trustworthy, brave, and generous” but leaders can also be “deceitful, cowardly, and greedy” (Pennings). Kellerman, amongst many others, feels that believing that all leaders are good shows an ignorance to the human condition (Pennings). While some prefer to call immoral leaders manipulators or power wielders, this further distorts the definition and connotation behind the term leader. There is no mention of ethics in the definition of leadership because a leader doesn’t need to be ethical.

Myth 3: Leaders can be easily defined and the leadership types are independent from one another.

This myth causes further misunderstanding of leaders and is closely related to the second myth. The misunderstanding of leadership causes improper understanding of the types of leaders. The primary categories of leaders are successful, unsuccessful, ethical, and immoral. Leaders can, and often do, satisfy more than one of these classifications at a time. Before analyzing these leadership types, working definitions of these groups must be agreed upon. Successful leaders achieve their goals and are admired by their followers. In contrast, unsuccessful leaders fail to accomplish their mission and are disliked by their followers. Ethical leaders act for the good of society; they do not put themselves or financial gain first. Immoral leaders act for their own benefit; they disregard others and the impact they have. The difference between these leaders is perceptual. The definition of ethical or immoral is a matter of moral longitude. Instead of the term good referring to ethics, like the second myth would suggest, it refers to the success of a leader. In order to understand the types of leaders and the complexity behind leadership, it is best to analyze some of the most popular (or unpopular) leaders of these categories.

Mahatma Gandhi is one of the most recognized ethical leaders. Gandhi denounced violence through his practice of satyagraha and encouraged his followers to do the same (Nanda). He grew up in colonial India, and after facing racial discrimination and the fear of losing the right to vote, he became active in South African and Indian politics (Nanda). Gandhi favored fasting to fists and marches to murder. Gandhi was able to accomplish many governmental reforms and was said to “initiate the movements against colonialism, racism, and violence” which also made him a successful leader (Nanda).

Few would dare to argue that Gandhi acted unethically, but it is more difficult to gain consensus on immoral leaders. With reluctancy, most will concede that Hitler was a leader but an immoral one. Adolf Hitler led the systematic killing of millions (Olick and Anderson 495). He had a vision of racial purity that Jews, gypsies, disabled, homosexuals, and other undesirables tainted (Olick and Anderson 495). Hitler spread his beliefs and led others to action through his book Mein Kampf in which he outlined his solution to creating a superior race (Olick and Anderson 494). In doing this, he killed over six million people, tore families apart, and scarred a nation. While Hitler was clearly immoral, it can be unclear as to whether or not he was successful. No, Hitler did not win the war, but he did not face the repercussions of it either. Hitler was loved, but he was hated with equal gusto. He may not have achieved his vision of racial purity, but the world will never forget his name. The differences between Gandhi and Hitler are important: Gandhi brought people freedom and understanding; Hitler didn’t even give them a burial.

While Hitler was immoral and seemingly failed, Mao Zedong was an immoral yet successful leader. Zedong led the cultural and communist revolution of China (Schram). Zedong did not start as a leader; in fact, he grew up in rural China, which gave him a disadvantage in his career (Schram). However, when Zedong was young, he left home and quickly climbed the ranks of the government by silencing his opponents and forcing his beliefs on his inferiors (Schram). On his rise to power, Zedong encouraged violence as a means to achieve change. He preyed on youth and peasants and let them fight for his cause (Schram). Although his economic reform led to mass famine and millions of deaths, Mao still wanted to be viewed as God (Mitter 50). While the pain he caused China makes him an immoral leader, people still have difficulty acknowledging him as a successful leader. He accomplished his goals and his followers were infatuated with him: praising his name and erecting statues in his honor. He changed the face of China forever… just, not for the better (Mitter 54).

Nelson Mandela changed the world in a way that was not possible for Zedong. While Mandela is viewed as a successful leader in his unification of South Africa, his moral positioning is less certain. Mandela became South Africa’s first democratically elected black president, but before he took office he underwent major struggles (Shoemaker). Paul Shoemaker, the executive chairman of Decision Strategies International said, Mandela “steered secret government meetings towards the abolishment of apartheid and free elections” all while he was imprisoned. Mandela was successful in achieving “non-violent, voluntary transfer of power by a strong minority group to a hostile majority” (Shoemaker). Mandela may have achieved his presidency under the first democratic election, but he did not always use such ethical methods. In fact, Mandela was imprisoned for sabotage and conspiracy among other offenses (Shoemaker). His aim may have been to end racial segregation, but his methods were not as pure. This being said, most people still view Mandela as a peaceful political activist. Whether the means or the goal separates ethical and immoral leaders cannot be determined. Furthermore, the question can be asked of whether one unethical action creates an immoral leader.

In today’s society, immoral leaders can receive more attention than ethical leaders. The fact that ethical leaders are not always well known is exemplified by Indra Nooyi, the chairman and chief executive officer of Pepsi who developed Pepsi’s Performance with Purpose (“Indra”). This initiative aims to improve health and well-being through Pepsi products, protect the planet, and empower people around the world (“Indra”). The initiatives include providing access to nutritional foods to underserved consumers, decreasing fats and calories in products, improving water efficiency, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, expanding the sustainable farming initiative, and investing in female education (“PepsiCo”). Nooyi may be leading Pepsi, but Pepsi is inspiring global businesses to more conscious of the ways they run their companies. Nooyi explains, “Companies like PepsiCo have a tremendous opportunity- as well as a responsibility- to not only make a profit, but to do so in a way that makes a difference in the world” (“PepsiCo”). As Pepsi and Nooyi’s reform does not end until 2025, their success cannot yet be determined; however, with such strong plans and leadership, it is hard to imagine their failure.

The success of former Michigan governor Rick Snyder is much easier to define but not to understand. In an effort to save money and reduce Michigan’s debt, Snyder “ordered the state to take over management of… economically insolvent cities,” such as Flint (Rodrick and Atkinson). Upon this order, the state switched Flint’s waterline to the Flint River, which residents referred to as a “historical industrial sewer” (Rodrick and Atkinson). After switching the pipeline, residents became ill from “fecal coliform bacteria, low dissolved oxygen, plant nutrients, oils, and toxic substances” (“Flint”). Despite pleas for help, Snyder and other officials still claimed the water was safe to consume. Concerned residents eventually brought in a third party who found that the water had chemical levels of toxic waste (Rodrick and Atkinson). Snyder’s failure to listen to the citizens resulted in twelve deaths, numerous hospitalizations, and an uncertain future (“Flint”). The people of Flint brought several lawsuits against Snyder for failing to do his job: protect and lead them.

There are several fundamental differences between the different types of leaders; however, they all satisfy the basic definition of a leader. The best way to differentiate the traits of leaders is to look once again at the examples. Gandhi, like many ethical leaders, possessed “values-based leadership” (Dhiman). He believed in integrity, transparency, humility, service, and compassion. He became a leader as his techniques to approaching change were so different from everyone else. Hitler, an immoral leader, had several key traits. He had excellent organizational and planning skills. However, he was said to be stubborn, distrustful of others, instinctual, and persistent (Megargee). These traits of Hitler caused his immorality and eventually the downfall of Nazi Germany (Megargee). Comparatively, Gandhi and Hitler were both great leaders, but it was their moral choices that defined what type of leader they truly were.

Zedong’s persistence made him a successful leader. He did not let his upbringing affect his aspirations and set high goals for himself; however, Zedong was paranoid and power hungry. Like Hitler, he was distrustful of his fellow government officials and desired complete devotion. Zedong’s success can be attributed to the devotion of his followers. The young adults and peasants who acted under his orders believed in the revolution. Comparatively, many of Hitler’s followers were not truly passionate about their actions. Unlike Zedong, Mandela and Nooyi acted with others in mind. These leaders had determination and focused on changing the world. They took responsibility for global issues upon themselves. Snyder’s unsuccessfulness correlates to his desperation to protect his reputation and his lack of direct involvement. His laissez faire leadership caused a community to suffer. While Snyder did not take office with the intent to harm, he found protecting his reputation more important than protecting his people.

The types of leaders overlap but their classification is up to perception. Analyzing the complexity of leadership show how the myths surrounding leadership could have developed. Clearly Hitler, Zedong, and Snyder were all leaders, but society’s unwillingness to acknowledge their leadership, even if it was unethical or unsuccessful, shows something more than misconstrued perceptions. The myths surrounding leadership show the naivety of society. Without understanding the significance of both leaders and followers, we devalue more than half of society. Without accepting evil as a potential characteristic of leaders, we fall prey to their misguidance. Without acknowledging the complexity of leadership, we cannot imagine creating a generation of positive leadership. Understanding leadership and the myths that surround it enable us to truly understand ourselves and make a difference. At a time when leadership is more important than ever, we must truly understand how people lead, who our leaders are, and who we are.

As for me, I will continue to lead. I will continue to inspire. And I will never stop initiating change.

Works Cited

Alvesson, Mats and Martin Blom. “Less Followership, Less Leadership? An Inquiry Into the Basic But Seemingly Forgotten Downsides of Leadership.” Unplugged Management,  vol. 18, no. 3, EBSCOhost, June 2015, pp. 266-282, web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=09806a23-2ad9-4ada-adfa-e12d177d32e2%40sessionmgr102&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWNvb2tpZSxpcCxjcGlkJmN1c3RpZD1zNjI2OTI0NyZzaXRlPWVob3N0LWxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3d%3d#AN=110417833&db=buh.

Asghar, Rob. “Why Followership Is Now More Important Than Leadership.” Forbes, 17 Jan. 2016, http://www.forbes.com/sites/robasghar/2016/01/17/why-followership-is-now-more-important-than-leadership/#6911c5705d64.

Dhiman, Satinder. “Lead Effectively.” Leadership Excellence Essentials, vol. 32, no. 11, Nov. 2015, pp. 27, web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=518f8ab3-c22e-4eea-b928-6b765698cabc%40sessionmgr103&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWNvb2tpZSxpcCxjcGlkJmN1c3RpZD1zNjI2OTI0NyZzaXRlPWVob3N0LWxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3d%3d.

“Flint Water Crisis Fact Sheet.” CNN.com., 22 Feb. 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/04/us/flint-water-crisis-fast-facts/.

Hoption, Colette. “Learning and Developing Followership.” Journal of Leadership Education, vol. 13, no. 3, EBSCOhost, June 2014, pp. 129-137, web.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?sid=bcb479df-c9a7-4439-96f8-78e8d715d0d0%40sessionmgr4009&vid=0&hid=4107&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWNvb2tpZSxpcCxjcGlkJmN1c3RpZD1zNjI2OTI0NyZzaXRlPWVob3N0LWxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3d%3d#AN=97289017&db=ehh.

“Indra K. Nooyi.” Who We Are. PepsiCo, 2017, http://www.pepsico.com/Company/Leadership.

Kellerman, Barbara. “Leadership- Warts and All.” Harvard Business Review, Harvard Business Publishing, Jan 2004, hbr.org/2004/01/leadership-warts-and-all.

Larson, Sandra. “What Makes for an Effective Leader?” Free Management Library, Authenticity Consulting, LLC, 2017, managementhelp.org/leadership/traits/leader.htm.

McCallum, John S. “Followership: The Other Side of Leadership.” Ivey Business Journal, Richard Ivey School of Business Foundation, Sep. 2013, iveybusinessjournal.com/publication/followership-the-other-side-of-leadership/.

Megargee, Geoffrey. “Hitler’s Leadership Style.” BBC World Wars, 30 Mar. 2011, http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwtwo/hitler_commander_01.shtml.

Mitter, Rana. “The Chaos Still Haunting China.” Prospect, no. 243, EBSCOhost, June 2016, pp. 50-54, web.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?sid=7a585444-91c9-4291-93ff-7fd5af3bed49%40sessionmgr4008&vid=0&hid=4107&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWNvb2tpZSxpcCxjcGlkJmN1c3RpZD1zNjI2OTI0NyZzaXRlPWVob3N0LWxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3d%3d#AN=116430693&db=hlh.

Nanda, B.R. “Mahatma Gandhi.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 3 Nov. 2016, http://www.britannica.com/biography/Mahatma-Gandhi.

Olick, Jeffrey, and Shannon Latkin Anderson. “The Holocaust.” International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, ic.galegroup.com/ic/ovic/ReferenceDetailsPage/ReferenceDetailsWindow?disableHighlighting=false&displayGroupName=Reference&currPage=&scanId=&query=&source=&prodId=GIC%3AOVIC&search_within_results=&p=OVIC%3AGIC&mode=view&catId=&u=wsalemhs&limiter=&display-query=&displayGroups=&contentModules=&action=e&sortBy=&documentId=GALE%7CCX3045301040&windowstate=normal&activityType=&failOverType=&commentary=.

Pennings, Ray. “Can Bad People Be Good Leaders?” Cardus, 1 Apr. 2004, http://www.cardus.ca/comment/article/212/can-bad-people-be-good-leaders/.

“PepsiCo Launches 2025 Sustainability Agenda Designed to Meet Changing Consumer and Societal Needs.” PepsiCo Inc, 17 Oct. 2016, http://www.pepsico.com/live/pressrelease/pepsico-launches-2025-sustainability-agenda-designed-to-meet-changing-consumer-a10172016.

Rodrick, Stephen and Scott Atkinson. “Who Poisoned Flint, Michigan?” Rolling Stone, 11 Feb. 2016, http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/who-poisoned-flint-michigan-20160122.

Schram, Stuart Reynolds. “Mao Zedong.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 29 Dec. 2015, http://www.britannica.com/biography/Mao-Zedong.

Shoemaker, Paul J.H. “Lasting Legacy: Nelson Mandela’s Evolution as a Strategic Leader.” Knowledge at Wharton, University of Pennsylvania, 9 July 2009, knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/lasting-legacy-nelson-mandelas-evolution-as-a-strategic-leader/.

Winston, Bruce and Kathleen Patterson. “An Integrative Definition of Leadership.” International Journal of Leadership Studies, vol. 1, no. 2, Regent University, http://www.regent.edu/acad/global/publications/ijls/new/vol1iss2/winston_patterson.doc/winston_patterson.htm.

15 Comments Add yours

  1. knutsjes000 says:

    I have never really stopped to think about the effects bystanders can have on situation. After hearing several of your essay, I know a bit about this topic, and I find it really interesting that we as bystanders can change how a situation will play through.

    Like

  2. I think that bystanders are people who don’t necessarily have the courage to stand up for someone, but why people act like this is beyond me. I don’t understand why people psychologically tend to follow rather than lead the way they envision things to be.

    Like

  3. koecou says:

    I’d be really interested in hearing about the BIG effects/impacts (global, international, longterm, etc).

    Like

  4. I think that if you see someone doing something hurtful to someone else, letting it slip by and doing nothing is almost as bad as doing it yourself

    Like

  5. wyattmolling says:

    Is the bystander effect just a precaution people have in order to protect themselves?

    Like

  6. nollabby says:

    I know what the bystander effect is, but I do not know much more about this topic. I am interested in how it effects society

    Like

  7. burkhardt.carlie says:

    I think the bystander effect is people who were raised to not speak up and people who need to be brave and feel free to have a say in the world. Bystanders can change a situation so much.

    Like

  8. huntermolly123 says:

    How often does the bystander effect take place in day to day life? Nationally? Globally?

    Like

  9. katiekrien says:

    Kitty Genovese was a girl who was raped and stabbed to death outside of her apartment complex while over two dozen bystanders did not help. The man even came back for more since no one did anything about this poor girl who was screaming for help. I am curious if bystander apathy is impacted by if someone does not particularly like the person or views the person as (I don’t know how to put this….)… I’ll just give an example, Like If Jack was walking down the street one night, and Jack saw this man whom he perceived as a drug dealer being beat by someone he perceived as a druggie… how that affects bystander apathy.

    Like

  10. shaben17 says:

    Does bystander apathy have a correlation with overall societal empathy and the willingness to help others? Is increased bystander apathy indicative of a shift in our societal values towards selfishness and tribalism?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. trautmanemily says:

    I am interested to know how someone who is normally a bystander or scared to stick up for themselves can do so. Is there stuff that can be taught in schools or is it just a trait people have and they can’t change it?

    Like

  12. dunnumpaige says:

    In some cases, those who speak up for victims of violent crimes may be punished for doing so.

    Like

  13. hefkay17 says:

    It would be interesting to see the different reasons people have for not standing up or saying something. Is it because they’re afraid of the consequences of reporting it, or do they just not want to involve themselves?

    Like

  14. emilyungerer says:

    I LOVE psychology so this topic would be the perfect one for me. Whenever I hear about bystander apathy I become really frustrated because I would feel as if I would do something, but I have never been put in that situation. I am intrigued to know what I would do in certain situations. Also I’m curious if the demographics change bystander apathy.

    Like

  15. I learned about this topic in psychology last year, and all I can remember is that we as a culture tend to wait for others to stand up before we even lift a finger. Is there anything we can do about it, or is it just a preset in out minds?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s