Can Political Psychology Help Us Distinguish Between Charismatic Leadership and Hubris?

Published: 2021-07-01
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University of Richmond
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Understanding psychological aspects of both national and international political development are increasingly becoming important with the advancement in international tensions, and sweeping political change witnessed around the world. Therefore, research set on analysis of interrelationships experienced between psychological and political processes. Distinguishing between charismatic leadership and hubris based on personal politics is interestingly gaining popularity among scholars. A clear indulgent of the psychological foundations of the politicians behaviors gives the different categorization of leaders based on their characteristics (Judge and Piccolo, 2004). Moreover, traditional explanations of some political behavior have over the years failed to explain some of the attributed behaviors that lead to leaders making some of the most important decisions and people's actions (Emilie and Alex Hand David 2013). With a better and deeper understanding of personality elements of the heads, it is, therefore, possible to know some of the situations that they can adequately handle well and which kind of situations the leaders require assistance and advice. Also with a better understanding of the people, it is possible to evaluate and understand why terrorist act the way they do and then find ways in which politically these motivations can be addressed so as to counter terrorism. Political psychology enables the enactment of general laws of behaviors that help give a logical explanation and prediction of events that occur to different leaders in different situations.

Distinguishing between charismatic leadership and hubris through political psychology.

Both charismatic and hubris leaders have the ability to generate waves of emotions excitement to their followers. They have the capability to create a feeling and focus groups; this done through their words, actions or even behaviors (Levital, Visser and Fiske.). However, there are notable fundamental differences between the charismatic and hubris leaders based on political psychology. The hubris views themselves as the high power (Blaug, 2010). Thus the group that is formulated is considered as the extension of the leader. This kind of leaders command a kind of respect from their followers as they are the ones who have the capability to give the final say on different matters that are affecting the people. Often with the high power exhorted to the leaders, the leaders tend to formulate a kind of ego and pride, and they have the notion they control the people.

Meanwhile, the charismatic leaders focus on the people, they like allowing many of the decisions to be arrived by the people before they can give the final determination (BASS, 2005). Example, there are leaders during the primary elections they allow the people to choose their leader before the elections. Research has proved many of the political leaders who have the ability to focus on their people tend to make the best representation in parliament (Yukl, 1999). Reason being they have the best interest if the people at heart and understand their constituents best. Based on the leaders selected during the primaries, the party leaders then calls the last running leaders based on the peoples choice. However, for the hubris heads, they directly nominate themselves and expect the people to be okay based on their decisions. Second, hubris leaders inspire through fear or trading economics, were for the people to enjoy an individual commodity they have to do certain actions. In contrast to the charismatic leaders inspire through modeling, what they promised the people, they walk their talk.

Moreover, during the end of their term as leaders, they can show the people what they have worked for and allow the people to judge them based on their actions and not by their threats. Finally, hubris knows how to lead the people through formulated objectifies value system (Judge, and Piccolo, 2004). They operate in a world where the people are like machinery, and they are expected to follow to the letter. Despite the objectivity realized by the leaders and expecting the followers to also operate under same measure. It can be challenging especially politic deals with willingness of people, thus they may decide to follow the laid out plans or disregard the rules set. The people are polished to ensure they have the capability to produce their best and when they are no longer necessary, the leader can discard them quickly. However, the charismatic leader is shaped by the group they represent; influenced by the new and also better path. They have the willingness to interact with the people and take in their suggestions. Example, charismatic political leaders, have the capability to listen to their subordinates they take in the important advice before they act. However, critics raised that the charismatic leaders have the ability to be taken advantage of especially due to their willingness to listen to the people, given their views are shaped by the groups, it is easy to manipulate them as opposed to the narcissists (Yammarino, and Dubinsky, 1994).

Analysis and theories on distinguishing between charismatic leadership and hubris

To date, there is no comprehensive understanding of what leadership wholly is and there no agreement between different theorists on what kind of a right or effective leader ought to be like (Northouse, 2012). There is two distinct types styles of leadership that have been identified by leadership scholars namely; transformational and authentic leadership. The effect of trust and psychological capital plays a significant role in the distinction between these two notable styles of leadership.

Despite the notable differences in the leadership styles that are practiced by any leaders, there has been a significant extent of overlap that suggests there is a need for the researchers to be able to examine more carefully every theory. However, based on the type of leadership that either a charismatic or hubris leader choose, the followers are affected in terms of; performance, trust, satisfaction, commitment, organizational citizenship behaviors. Four factors can well describe transformational leadership inspirational motivation, individualized consideration, idealized influence and personalized attention (Uhl-Bien, 2006). Transformational leadership style used by a leader whose primary concern is to improve the performance of their followers and engage them till they can develop to full potential. Many charismatic leaders notably embrace transformational leadership. Evidenced by their willingness to walk the talk emphasize to their citizens. Additionally, charismatic leaders were particularly interested in the development and advancement of an individual, and through the transformative style of leadership, they have an opportunity to engage with the people and guide them on the required steps (Stogdill, 1974). However, many hubris leaders do not participate in a transformative style of leadership. With the hubris tendency of continually seeking to fit their identification and allow they words to be the final say without the approval of the others.

Researchers have given authentic leadership style many different definitions, but an underlying explanation is that the leaders are portrayed to be possessing self-knowledge and have a personal point of view which reflected in the leaders active form of clarity about their convictions and values (Cottam, Dietz-Uthler Mastors, and Preston 2004). Moreover, this kind of leadership style linked with the leaders ability to act by their guts, and they expect the followers to be authentic. Critics raised on the leaders who practice this kind of style as they are often regarded to be dictators. Hubris kind of leaders, embrace this sort of leadership style whole. As earlier noted that hubris are the kind of leaders who think that their way is the only kind of way to execute a different kind of plans and ideas execution. Theories done by researchers have proved, hubris leaders prefer not to be challenged by their authority as they expect all the followers to know who is in charge (Shamir, House and Arthur, 1993). Example, political leaders who run their parties as hubris leaders have a tendency to impose on the other bosses laws and rules and they expect them to execute them with minimum questioning. However, although hubris leaders noted to line more on being dictatorial, there is also a high probability of them managing the crisis better than the charismatic leaders.

In summary, charismatic leaders are noted to be ideal for political parties, but this is never the case after the politicians have stayed in politic for a while (Bass and Stogdill 1990). Research has claimed, many politicians after going through the first term of office, before they seek another term they stop worrying about the people's concerns and they start to find their selfish gain. Charismatic leaders have been identified to listen to their people, and often do what their people makes them do. Furthermore, theories of political leadership have recognized charismatic leaders to be transformation, especially to their workers. This kind of leaders have a unique opportunity to allow their followers to blossom and be famous people because they not only listen to the people, but they take action to motivate and guide them where necessary until the people have full capability to function independently. However, the hubris leaders have a different kind of leadership styles identified by various authors a supported by scholarly research of authentic leadership (Yukl, 1999). Thereby, the leaders expect to be given the ultimate power to control the people.

Moreover, this kind of leaders knows that their way is what matters most in the political arena. With advantages of this sort of leadership attributed to the fact that it is possible to control the partys agendas, there is also a higher chance of dictatorship employed in the company. Therefore, distinguishing between charismatic and hubris has not only be recognized based on power and command but also through the different sets of theories on leadership through the two kinds of leadership styles suggested that is transformative and authentic leadership style (Yukl, 1999). Its important to confirm the fact that understanding psychological aspects of both national and international political development are increasingly becoming important with the advancement in international tensions, and sweeping political change witnessed around the world. As I stated earlier, charismatic political leaders, have the capability to listen to their subordinates they take in the important advice before they act.


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