What characterizes a good leader? Should he be understanding, considerate, and open-minded? Or should he be imposing, forceful, and coercive in order to get things done?
Different people have different perceptions of what a good contemporary leader should be. Despite all these differences, one thing remain certain – good leaders possesses a great deal of power in order for him to properly lead. This is not necessarily the physical power, but a conglomeration of different types of power. If a leader has these, then there is a great possibility of him being a good leader.
Why do we need Power?
But why is it necessary for a leader to have power? Power is basically the ability to get what you want, regardless of who is benefitted – you or the greater many. With the proper use of power, a good leader can propel his country or the group of people he represents, towards development.
Power could bring about change, including success in various aspects wherein power is truly applicable. It could lead to economic growth, social development, improvement of the living conditions of the people, and more. Power could also be used to influence what others think, again for the benefit of the leader or the group he leads. Power is said to be at the heart of all techniques of changing minds.
Power use, or abuse?
However, the use of this power could also be misappropriated. Power abuse is common for the leaders who are given the chance to hold so much power. This is when they use these powers to influence other people and use it for their benefit.
This is also true when they haphazardly use their powers without thinking of the consequences, like the damages it would do to other people. Their only concern is to exercise the power that they possess, and they will yield to nothing but their own destruction.
The powers of a United States President.
One of the most controversial leader that we know of today is the United States President George W. Bush. He is a concrete example of a leader in power, where he derives that power, and how he uses it (Kristol & Schmitt, 2005).
Controversies surfaced when he waged his war against terrorism, wherein he forcefully intervened in various affairs in the Middle East. His calls for war against the terrorist were dubbed by others as an expression of his hunger for power. Many people disagree with his decisions to further continue the war despite many lives being lost and many innocent people being involved.
In order to fully understand his capacity as a leader, it is important to analyze the power that he has now. We have to look at the source of his power and afterwards classify it according French and Raven’s description of power. This is the most common description of power, and is further divided into five different forms. These are coercive power, reward power, legitimate power, referent power, and expert power (Changingminds.org, 2007).
The power of Coercion
The President’s power is vested to him as defined by the Constitution of the United States of America. George W. Bush, being the forty third President of the United States of America, holds his Office as the country’s leader during the Term of four years (Durland, 1996). One of the primary powers of an elected president is his command over the country’s fire power.
George W. Bush is given the title of being the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, as well as the Militia of the several States, if they’re called into actual Service of the U.S. government (Milbank, 2001). This is one of the main aspects which raised the concern of many Americans.
George W. Bush is abusing his power as the Commander in Chief of the country’s military powers. It is as if George W. Bush is using the military as pawns in his own war against terrorism or the Middle East.