Leadership is a Method of Social Control

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Leadership is a method of social control in which an individual guides other people to achieve certain set goals. Many scholars have provided various historical approaches as they attempt to understand leadership styles. One historical approach is based on how a prince should keep faith. Niccolo Machiavelli provided this leadership perspective. He noted that a prince should have an upright life and never be crafty (Wren, 1995). However, princes used crafty methods to accomplish great results. In the process, they betrayed individuals who trusted and maintained honest dealings with them. Machiavelli noted that princes used two methods in governing their subjects. One way was leadership based on the laws provided by the nation. The second method was through force or coercion.

Leadership through the laws of the land was appropriate and proper to men. Conversely, leadership by force was appropriate for beasts. Unfortunately, leadership through laws was often ineffectual. Thus, princes often resorted to leadership by force. Hence, they understood how to use both methods of leadership (Wren, 1995). Additionally, reliance on leadership by force was unwise. Some men are honest while others were not. Therefore, princes had to balance the two types of leadership to maintain faith. Moreover, they had to know how to stimulate and disassemble their subjects. These were achieved through deception and manipulation. They had to understand that men are simple and easily deceived since they are controlled by their immediate needs (Marquis & Huston, 2009). However, despite being deceptive, manipulative and liars, princes had to appear religious, honest, merciful and humane.      

This historical perspective of leadership has had a lot of influence in modern day guidance styles. Currently, many organizations have adopted this leadership style to motivate workers. Many organizations assume that workers seek to satisfy higher human needs like self-actualization. Hence, they manipulate workers and make numerous promises that are not kept. Additionally, politicians use manipulation and coercion to control their constituents. The approach also explains why some leaders have managed to become dictators. In Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe has managed to apply the techniques explained to become popular and at the same time be a dictator.

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