In this wide-ranging historical exploration of transformational leadership, Popper examines why followers are influenced by leaders and what psychological dynamics exist between leaders and their subordinates, and, in the process, redefines the phenomenon of leadership. Exploring the emotional connections that bind charismatic leaders and those who support them, he contends that this multifaceted relationship is based on reciprocal need. By focusing on prominent figures throughout history who have altered the lives of their followers in profound ways, Popper shows how these leaders reinvented and disseminated value systems, for good (e.g., Nelson Mandela), but often for ill (e.g., Hitler). Whether the influence of a charismatic leader is destructive and negative or constructive and positively transformative, this intriguing work argues that the reciprocal process that takes place between leader and follower, as well as key formative events in the lives of leaders, are surprisingly similar.
Using such famous and infamous leaders as Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Madela, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Hitler, Charles Manson, and Jim Jones, Popper defines and explores three types of leader-follower relationships: Regressive relationships, which are characterized by mutual dependence; Symbolic relationships, which are rooted in symbolic meaning; Developmental-transformational relationships, which permit positive moral and emotional development.
About the Author:
Micha Popper is Co-Director of the Center for Outstanding Leadership and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Haifa. He is also former Commanding Officer of the School for Leadership Development of the Israeli Defense Forces. He is author of Hypnotic Leadership: Leaders, Followers and the Loss of Self (Praeger, 2001).