Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 7 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
General News   

President Bush Legacy Will Be as a Toxic Leader

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   No comments
Message Claremont Graduate University Faculty
“Tolerate” is far too weak a word to describe the relationship between Bush and the American people

Dr. Jean Lipman-Blumen of Claremont Graduate University says there are many reasons why the American people initially believed in President Bush and continued to support him for years, despite his dismal performance. More surprisingly, perhaps, even the media fell under Bush’s sway. The author of “The Allure of Toxic Leaders: Why We Follow Destructive Bosses and Corrupt Politicians--and How We Can Survive Them” calls Bush “an unbelievably toxic leader," and offers this historical perspective of President Bush.

According to Lipman-Blumen, arrogance, stubbornness and incompetence are all characteristics which President Bush shares with many other toxic leaders. And these qualities actually fall on the mild end of the “toxic” spectrum, compared to those of other deliberately evil leaders.

Toxic leaders commonly first charm, but then manipulate, mistreat, undermine, and ultimately leave their followers worse off than they found them. Lipman-Blumen isn’t blaming the victim, but there are many reasons why toxic leaders, such as President Bush, rise to power and remain in office:

• Psychological reasons: Humans are programmed to follow authoritarian leaders. Ever since we were kids, we’ve been told by our parents to do what we are told and everything will be fine.
• Existential reasons: We think leaders will keep us safe, and leaders who promise everything will be okay resonate with our fears.
• Psychosocial: We often give power to those who we think can succeed better than we can; if we thought we could do it, we’d want to be the leader ourselves.

But Where Are All the Saints?

Saints rarely seek elected office. So it is left to us ordinary human beings, many of whom prefer to do our own thing. There are several reasons why the best candidates don’t seek office, but one major factor is:
• The inconvenience of leadership: Being a leader is a big responsibility and it can dramatically change our lifestyle: less time with family, longer working hours and a lot more stress. Consequently, we step aside for others who want to take on the added burden, even if they aren’t exactly perfect for the job. “It’s easier to let someone else do the job and then criticize that person than it is to do it ourselves,” Lipman-Blumen says.

Leadership roles often attract the wrong people because we incorrectly consider leadership a privilege, offering power and prestige.

• Not surprising, then, is that the most narcissistic, neurotic, and power-hungry individuals usually elbow their way to the front of the line.

Lipman-Blumen says it’s important for people to recognize warning signs before we elect leaders.

Is Bush the most toxic of all or of our time?

"President Bush has left the US in disarray domestically and diminished our position internationally.," Lipman-Blumen offers. "Bush’s incompetence causes him to make serious mistakes, and his stubbornness prevents him from trying to correct any errors he might be able to acknowledge. Still, he certainly has stiff competition for the title of 'Most Toxic Leader.'”

About Jean Lipman-Blumen

The Thornton F. Bradshaw Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Organizational Behavior, Professor Lipman-Blumen is director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Leadership, at the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management. She has served as assistant director of the National Institute of Education and as special advisor to the Domestic Policy Staff in the White House under President Carter, has consulted for various governments and private sector organizations, and was the president of L-BS International, Ltd., a management consulting and public policy research firm. She has published seven books, three monographs, and more than 70 articles on public policy, leadership, management, crisis management, and gender issues. Her earlier book, "The Connective Edge: Leading in an Interdependent World" (Jossey-Bass, 1996), paperback edition (Oxford University Press, 2000), was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

About Claremont Graduate University

Founded in 1925, Claremont Graduate University is one of the top graduate schools in the United States. Our nine academic schools conduct leading-edge research and award masters and doctoral degrees in 22 disciplines. Because the world’s problems are not simple nor easily defined, diverse faculty and students research and study across the traditional discipline boundaries to create new and practical solutions for the major problems plaguing our world. A Southern California based graduate school devoted entirely to graduate research and study, CGU boasts a low student-to-faculty ratio.

Rate It | View Ratings

Claremont Graduate University Faculty Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

About Claremont Graduate University Founded in 1925, Claremont Graduate University is one of the top graduate schools in the United States. Our nine academic schools conduct leading-edge research and award masters and doctoral degrees in 22 (more...)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The New Math Challenge in America

Ethical Business Executives Need to Commit to Social Responsibility

A Modern School District

Four Reasons Why Obama is the Connective Leader for a New Era

President Bush Legacy Will Be as a Toxic Leader

The Valuable Inconvenience of Leadership: A Message for the Class of 2009

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend