September 01, 2020 in Literature

The Allure of Toxic Leaders 

While studying the issue at hand, much attention was paid to the key conceptions that could be explained in the context. The significance of this research considers the question of the interpretation of a true leader. Moreover, this argument contributes to an image of a toxic leader. As these notions are worth evaluating in the aspect of the recent investigation, the point requires a precise examination. Thus, this paper studies the theme of a proper evaluation of a toxic leader, analyzes his or her distinguishing characteristics, outlines the hidden reasons for such success, and tries to find a reasonable answer to the question of why the majority of people are likely to follow bad heroes.

First, it is important to note that the author of The Allure of Toxic Leaders is a leading theorist in the sphere of the public policy and organizational behavior. Due to the Jean Lipman-Blumen’s appropriate experience, most readers could trace prominent conceptions in her story, which is dedicated to the problem of the personality’s analysis. Having been published in 2005, this paper has become a true phenomenon. As it focuses on an intellectual study of the cause of the spread of toxicity in such characters, this issue has already demonstrated its utmost impact in the selected sphere. Specifically, the key concept of this story bases on the intriguing method of presenting the recent data and clarifying the relationships between a toxic leader and its crowd. Therefore, this book has caused a hot debate concerning this aspect.

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Conventionally, this paper may be divided into four parts. The first section resolves over a definition of a toxic leader. The writer explains particular features of such amoral individuals and describes the causes for their appearance and existence in a community. Adolf Hitler, Jeffrey K.Skilling, Mao Zedong, Albert J. Dunlap, Slobodan Milosevic – this list can be almost endless. The history presents a huge number of such examples. However, the question of toxic leaders is still rather actual and controversial at the same time. According to the Lipman-Blumen’s interpretation, toxic leaders are victims of their destructive behavior and dysfunctional personal qualities that they possess. They could not exist without a crowd; in other words, they require many followers, who do not have an independent way of thinking. Such relations are rather poisonous as the heroes manipulate the population by applying different efficient psychological approaches. Unfortunately, most people accept such leadership as the bonds between communities reveal rather in the aspect of the interaction than action. By providing an inspired and courageous example, misguiding leaders transform into organizational tyrants, whose majesty is difficult to dispute. The leading authorities of the past centuries expressed their outsized ambition, egoism, arrogance, and corruption; nevertheless, they stay among the most influential individuals of the contemporary epoch. Due to such a position, cynics, cruelty, control, blame, fear, humility, selflessness, paranoia, and pragmatic strategies have been implemented in ordinary practice.

Remarkably, despite the severe life conditions, most people continued to have a strong need for such characters. That is why the author of this book strives to explain the essential question of why people still want to follow them. In the second section, this prominent issue is briefly outlined. The explanation concerns the emotional aspect. Accordingly, the whole society needs four elements: authority, security, as well as a feeling of specialty and belonging. As a rule, toxic leaders could provide vast masses with such basic experiences. By supporting and expanding the inner status of everyone’s personality, they are ready to boost the mental spirit of the population. According to numerous researchers that concerned the sphere of psychological connection, such individuals use their masterful performances and energy in order to impose the system of beliefs, ideas, and innovative points of view. As a result, they break a traditional manner of perceiving the reality. Of course, their hidden leadership potential serves as a powerful instrumental tool. As they perform more crucial roles in the community, they charm, mistreat, and humble people at the same time. Toxic leaders possess authority, good grace, influence, prestige, confidence, and public support. By playing on people’s anxieties and fears, appealing to the human deepest needs and hidden desires, they feel independent and free.

Moreover, the societal position also plays an important role in this context. The fear of the non-realization and social death remains a powerful motivation for the majority of people. An opportunity to avoid a loss of personality and human face makes most of them follow arrogant and misguiding commanders. The issue of ostracism (or fear to remain insignificant or unknown in life) allows for the incorporation of public ideals at the eternal level of the social communication. As the coalition becomes a significant social unit, toxic leaders succeed to attract a wide audience and impose their ideas on the diverse populations.

However, it is still unclear what makes a human being obey the established norms, rules, and peculiar regulations during the government of a toxic leader, who appears to be a real tyrant. Jean Lipman-Blumen offers an own response to this question. The writer analyzes inexplicable reasons for such behavior in the third part of her book. The controversy of this issue lies in the sphere of grand illusions versus noble visions. Naturally, every state wants to return its glory and might of the previous days, especially in the period of crisis. Feeling powerless, the population searches for a role model that would change their lives, restore the economic prosperity, and gain the respect of other countries. In line, toxic leaders utilize such occasion to accumulate the maximum authority and power. If they obtain the leading governmental positions, the following alterations are likely to occur later. However, usually, such radical patterns are not effective. Well, toxic leaders offer simple solutions to the number of complex and burning problems, which comfort the majority of electors. This task is rather easy to accomplish while its result is rapid and fluent. At least, it may seem so at the first glance. Nevertheless, the truth lies deeper. Having experienced minutes of tremendous success and glory, the nation is sure to feel the deplorable consequences of such policy in the nearest future. As a rule, an easier choice does not always provide an effective method of overcoming obstacles.

As a perfect example, the instance of Hitler’s policy in the Nazi German may be considered in this respect. By targeting the promises of the nation’s dominance and privilege, the German society has experienced the biggest rise and the saddest fall in a short period. This false idea of one nation’s majesty has ruined millions of human lives and demonstrated own destructive effects in a while. However, during the period of euphoria, the population was blind, open to injury, and ready to execute all of the orders of the Fuhrer. It was an inevitable process. Consequently, Adolf Hitler is considered one of the greatest leaders of his epoch.

Notwithstanding the fact that the humanity has to recognize such toxic personalities, this book provides valuable lessons of how not to become an easy target and avoid the demolished influence of tyrannical authorities. The author highlights the necessity of a proper interpretation of such individuals and emphasizes the significance of its revealing at the first stages of their functioning or reigning. She supports the rational positions and denounces the major myths concerning the issue.

While the concept of dominating political leaders is still actual in the contemporary society, the analysis of psychological requirements and emotional needs creates a considerable problem. As toxic leaders could not exist without numerous followers, their sphere of influence depends directly on the social mood and preferences. A true leader would not manifest a destructive or dysfunctional behavior in the hard times. Any different behavior is considered the most pretentious and prominent determinant of an immoral or tyrannical personality. In the concept of leadership, this person may be characterized rather as a teacher, a mentor, and an external friend than a commander or a chief. The following notion describes a real leader and reflects the proper treatment of followers. Only emotional balance may be envisaged in a positive way in this context.  While analyzing a profound psychological nature of a human being, the writer clarifies that this special category considers the question of the personal security and assurance. Thus, according to the vital evidence, a true leader aims to increase and boost the mental spirit of compatriots; he or she is not likely to spread established principles, as well as change the society’s mentality or dictate one’s will.

To sum up, it is essential to highlight that this book is a valuable storage of crucial ideas and points of views. Its leading findings are worth considering and evaluating in the sphere of the behavioral regulation and organizational function. The author of this work provides her conclusions in an expressive and fascinating way; thus, it leaves a positive impression. The writing manner, in general, faces a critical analysis that considers an important message of the intellectual study. It is to remark that the author offers a perfect perspective of toxic leaders’ interpretation, generalizes the reasons for their existence, and reveals the expectations of the population. Besides, she breaks their biggest illusions, points to the necessity of recognizing such characters in the modern society, and notes that the human community should dispense from the negative individuals who do not show a right example for the future generations.

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