heron61: (America)
heron61 ([personal profile] heron61) wrote2017-04-14 09:13 pm

Musings On Charisma and Leadership

I found this article on charisma and humble vs narcissistic leaders sad but not at all surprising.

Almost more than anything wrt politics, I wish that charisma had at least less of a place in politics than it does, especially in the US. As I've mentioned before, I simply don't trust charisma in politicians, and am not particularly inclined to trust or respond positively to a charismatic leader than one who isn't, even a charismatic leader who shares many of my views. I thought it was nifty that Barack Obama was a geek who seemed to have a genuinely happy and loving family, and I think he's quite attractive, but none of that had anything to do with why I voted for him in both 2008 & 2012 – I voted for him because Republican candidates are (at least at a federal level) universally evil and horrific, and I agreed with many (but definitely not all) of Obama's policies. I didn't find Hillary Clinton to be particularly charismatic, but I voted for her with equal enthusiasm, and was dismayed to understand that she would have almost certainly won by a landslide if someone with the same positions and liabilities who was a tall charismatic man would have won almost certainly won by a landslide.

I love seeing charismatic actors and performers on screens both large and small, but their job is to entertain, not to make decisions governing the lives of millions or even hundreds of millions of people. My ideal political system would be one where people voted for parties and not individuals, and would greatly prefer one where the party in power selected a prime minister from among their number than to have people voting for what far too many of them feel to be their sacred-king-for-4-to-8-years. Sadly, most US voters like the idea of charismatic leaders, and most voters across the world pick representative for qualities like "likability" or being "a person like them" in terms of background, interests, or subcultural identification, rather than what policies they vote for – which is how you got situations like our current idiot in chief, or the fact that most Americans didn't support the positions Ronald Reagan supported, but they found him likeable and so they voted for him anyway. I'll never understand that sort of thinking, and I'm not certain I want to. My ideal politician is a rather boring policy wonk who has good ideas, but knows when to change them if fact and circumstance dictates that they won't work.
mecurtin: Doctor Science (Default)

[personal profile] mecurtin 2017-04-15 06:30 pm (UTC)(link)
I've been thinking about this too, and about how very different the current Resistance is from the many revolutions/resistance movements I've read in stories.

I wonder how much of our preference for charismatic narcissist leaders is cultural conditioning. Think how many TV shows and movies with a "team" are centered around a charismatic leader, not a humble one. Even when the leader isn't narcissistic, the plot often is centered enough around him (and it's always him) that it becomes a narcissistic fantasy.

My impression (which may be biased) is that this cultural pattern has if anything gotten *worse* in recent decades. I think it has a lot to do with the prevalence of narcissists among the Hollywood greenlight boys: they *love* narcissistic fantasies. But it's also laziness, because a charismatic narcissist is easier to write than a good, humble leader.
mithriltabby: Flashing biohazard symbol over a donkey-elephant chimera (Politics)

[personal profile] mithriltabby 2017-04-18 01:29 am (UTC)(link)
I agree. When I was reading Malka Older’s Infomocracy, I instantly started rooting for the Policy1st party, who even avoided associating themselves with figureheads.