From Antiquity to the New Common Era
New Horizons in Leadership Studies series
Chapter 7: Politics and mental illness
Man is naturally a political animal. Aristotle, Politics Aristotle said that man is a political animal, and as such, he requires the social medium in order to function in roles of leadership. To achieve that, ‘leaders can persuade followers by good arguments’ (Gardner 1995). But are these good stories people tell one another enough to gain an entourage, let alone a multitude of followers? Certainly not, since the leader’s personality traits and behaviour also play a significant role. As Hoyt et al. (2006) state ‘other elements matter greatly’. They continue: Is the leader someone with whom followers might identify, or trust and believe? Has the leader presented his or her message in a manner that encourages receptivity and credulity? Personal characteristics are important here, but so are contextual features, such as illustration, easily remembered slogans and impressive-looking documentation. It is imperative that the leader at least appears to care for his subjects. Whereas the psychological literature often assumes that the goals of leaders and followers are the same (Hogg 2001), an evolutionary perspective suggests that this may be an unfounded assumption (Van Vugt 2006). Ray (2011) says that, ‘The basic definition of leadership is the person who rises above the crowd and gets something done.’ A successful leader must be willing to pay a price in order to succeed.
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