HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Follow the Leader

Sun Jan 15, 2012, 05:40 PM


Follow the Leader [View all]

Always Strive to Be a Better You - Charismatic Leaders and Ego

As you consider those leaders past and present, what are the characteristics that define them? What makes them great? Are they effective because of situational work, interpersonal dealings, general intelligence, content expertise, or perhaps a little of each? Do they possess that je ne sais quoi that we hear so much about but really don't know how to spell?

As you engaged in that quick exercise, your mind probably raced with thoughts of wonderful leaders from your own life, mixed with some great historical leaders, and sprinkled with a few outstanding leaders about whom you have heard but know very little. That last group probably consisted of rather charismatic personalities -- Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca or former Boston Celtics basketball coach Red Auerbach, for example.

Some might caution us against blindly following charismatic leaders -- those who can woo the room, whip the crowd into frenzy, and entice an emotional reaction out of any situation. Michael Fullan, for instance, warns us that "Charismatic leaders inadvertently often do more harm than good because, at best, they provide episodic improvement followed by frustrated or despondent dependency," and, worse still, "they are role models who can never be emulated."

We respectfully add a caveat, by cautioning against the blind following of any leader, charismatic or otherwise.

The Wave will intrigue readers from the beginning. It is a story based upon actual events that took place as the result of a History class experiment in a California high school in 1969. Ben Ross, a high school history teacher, begins his usual unit on World War II with a film strip depicting the horrors that occurred in Nazi concentration camps. His students have mixed reactions to the film. Among them, Laurie, a popular student, raises questions that the teacher cannot answer and states that this type of event could never happen again. The teacher concocts an experiment to illustrate to his students just how this type of blind following can easily happen, even in their own school. It begins simply enough as a game in his history class but soon the students want to spread their new found discipline to other areas of the school including the school's football team. As time passes, the other teachers, administration, and a handful of students become more concerned with the effects of the Wave, the term given to the experiment. Eventually, Mr. Ross must also acknowledge that things have gone too far and must devise a plan to put an end to the fast-spreading craze. In the end, the students learn a valuable lesson about blindly following a leader.

The fluid, readable style allows secondary students to understand the text, while still engaging adult readers with a fascinating story. In addition to bringing to life a pivotal piece of history, the novel raises questions about contemporary issues and attitudes as well as the power of persuasion and group versus individual psyche. The Wave brings its characters to life. It is well suited for high school or middle school students because it addresses the issues of peer pressure and the fine line between fitting in and blindly following the crowd. It illustrates how quickly people can be convinced that their individual rights are not really important and how important it is for some people to feel as though they are accepted as part of the group. This book is rich in discussion topics and may be used to connect language arts and social studies/history


Why would people rather blindly trust their leaders, instead of look up their history and learn from the past?

not talking to any country in particular *usa* *cough* new nazi's
why is being a "nerd" such a bad thing? why not know what the government is doing? why let them get so powerful, and overrun by the same private bankers who funded nazi germany? and why can't we ask these questions? why is it humanity never learns from history, why keep on making the same mistakes? the tonkin gulf incident is just one example of the united states not having a problem with false flag attacks, yet even with the viewpoints of thousands of qualified people, people still blindly follow the 911 story? sorry stories; there were too many, it didn't seem like the government was sure on that 1; and why do we praise beef? the world is messed up but people would rather avoid the issues at hand and continue letting their retrospective systems commit atrocities, hasn't history taught us how easily the system can go down? why is it a good thing to be dumbed down and not know anything? and has humanity always been so stupid? if america has the best interests at heart why do they allow china and india to continue with child slavery, letting their people consume the products of innocent crying starving dying children? the american empire is spreading, other nations believe if they **** the u.s off, they'll be attacked; who are the real terrorists?
terrorism 1:the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion
but what is terror? terror is violent or destructive acts, such as bombing commit by groups intended to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands, so what's a terrorist?
america cause a million ground zero's that never reached your earholes;
the taliban? american created; hey help us against the soviets please, they'll take over the world!
the wars over? binladden asks for money to rebuild and asks for peace, but america would rather bomb it, and label them terrorists for retaliating;


SAT: to question the ideas and decisions of those in positions of authority

The German teachers during the Nazi period were also the epitome of how people in positions of authority could be mistaken. These teachers played an essential role in shaping the mindset of young German. However, what the teachers passed down to the students were nothing but hatred and prejudice against the Jews. They led the students to believe that the Jews were inferior and that they did not deserve to exist. These prejudiced teachers had nurtured generations of xenophobic Germans who enlisted or took part in condemning the existence of the Jews in one way or another when they grew up. If the teachings of these teachers had been questioned, there would have been considerably less unfounded hatred towards to Jews.

Lastly, the grand Ponzi scheme caused by Bernie Madoff serves as a painful reminder for us that blindly following a leader without questioning his belief and actions would engender severe consequences. Madoff was the CEO of a stock-market company and the senior financial advisor of many companies; his voice was highly trusted. This allowed him to make profits for himself from the gargantuan amount of investment and lose all of it, causing millions of Americans become broke and out of jobs after just one night. The financial crisis was so severe that even other economies in the world also collapsed, like a Domino effect. Had Madoff's unscrupulous actions been questioned sooner, such debilitating situations could have been avoided.

Overall, a careful analysis of all the above cases shows us that even though having a good leader is important, we should not blindly follow his decision. Questioning their ideas and decisions is a good way to make sure that our leaders are on the right track. After all, we would thrive if we heed the wise words of a capable and morally upright leader, and questioning the leaders' ideas and decisions helps us decide whether our leaders are the ones we need.


Blindly follow the leader, again, and its shocking

U.S. social psychologist Stanley Milgram performed a controversial but important experiment in human behavior beginning in the early 1960s—his famous “obedience to authority” experiments (the Milgram Experiments). Now, in the 2000s, the experiment is repeated.

Dr. Milgram found that a majority of people will blindly obey an authority figure even when it comes to hurting other people.

While at Yale University, Milgram conducted a series of experiments starting in 1961 under the guise of testing punishment and learning.

Milgram used three groups of people, one group he called the “teachers” (participants) and the others he named as the “learners” (victims) and the “authority figures” (experimenters).


When following the leader can lead into the jaws of death

For animals that live in social groups, and that includes humans, blindly following a leader could place them in danger. To avoid this, animals have developed simple but effective behaviour to follow where at least a few of them dare to tread – rather than follow a single group member.

This pattern of behaviour reduces the risk of imitating maverick behaviour of an individual as the group recognise that consensus is better than following someone that goes it alone.

The study was carried out at the University of Leicester, by Ashley J. W. Ward now at the University of Sydney and in collaboration with David J. T. Sumpter of Uppsala University; Iain D. Couzin of Princeton University; Paul J. B. Hart of the University of Leicester and Jens Krause of the University of Leeds. It is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The research was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council.

Dr Ward, formerly of the University of Leicester, led the study. He said: “Social conformity and the desire to follow a leader, regardless of cost, exert extremely powerful influences on the behaviour of social animals, from fish to sheep to humans.


Land of the Blind

Land of the Blind is a dark political satire, based on several incidents throughout history in which tyrannical rulers were overthrown by new leaders who proved to be just as bad, if not worse, and subtle references are made to several such cases. The title is taken from the saying, "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."[1]

"Land of the Blind" had its world premiere in competition at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and was the Opening Night Gala film at the 2006 Human Rights Watch Film Festival in London. Its U.S. premiere was in competition at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival. The film sparked intense reaction during its festival run, attacked by both left and right, each of which saw the film as a critique of its position.


2 replies, 1400 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 2 replies Author Time Post
Reply Follow the Leader [View all]
RC Jan 2012 OP
orpupilofnature57 Jan 2012 #1
undergroundpanther Jan 2012 #2