How are ethics and leadership related? Can a toxic leader be an ethical leader? Why or why not? If one can imagine a continuum that ranges from an altruistic extreme on one end to total selfishness at the opposite end, one has created the leadership continuum. Over the past twenty years scholars have discussed leadership like it is the Holy Grail. To many of us leadership is a single static entity that represents all that is great about our capitalist society. However, leaders are foremost human beings, and no one is perfect. Likewise, ethics are on a continuum.
There are great ethical examples and individuals with horrible ethics. Twenty-one years ago, David Koresh a self-proclaimed prophet led a group of bible pundits to a stand-off against Federal law enforcement agents in Waco, TX. Koresh was wanted for sex with minors and illegal weapon trafficking. His leadership caused more than 80 people to prematurely die. Koresh’s ethics and leadership abilities are so immortalized that he has followers to this day waiting for his resurrection, (Newport, 2006). Koresh was a toxic leader with ethics that many would question. Koresh’s behavior is an excellent example of the Bathsheba Syndrome, (Johnson, 2015). The designation is reserved for ethical leaders who fall into a downward spiral by committing acts which they know are wrong. His inconsistent behavior generated confusion among his followers. Koresh’s followers included members from every income level, occupation, nationality, race and gender.
Our Commander and Chief Bully’s (CCB) leadership style mirrors Koresh. He has misrepresented so many facts that unless you are an avid reader is would be tough to recognize facts from fiction. Last week our CCB attended a campaign rally in Nashville, TN. The rally was a part of his MAGA Blacks for Trump tour. During his featured speech Trump remarked, “African Americans vote for Democrats, for the most part. Vast majority. They’ve been doing it for over a hundred years,” Like Koresh, Trump plays with the facts. The 100-year claim sounded all good, except it is a historical mistruth! A century ago, black folks tended to choose the “party of Lincoln,”!
In addition, after the 15 Amendment was ratified in 1870, it allowed men to vote regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude,”. For a few brief years, black men were able to exercise that right. A funny thing occurred during post-Reconstruction. Whites, especially in the Confederate states of the South, wielded violence and the threat of violence, to disenfranchise African Americans and keep blacks from voting for the next 100 years. So, if one did the math, it would mean that African Americans have only “voted for Democrats” for about 50 years. Trump has galvanized is white supremist base!
Now he wants Blacks to drink up!
Trump tweeted a contest, when kicking off his black tour, for rappers to submit their best rap and the winner would be invited to the White House. This is how Trump believes he can connect with Black voters and that their depths of intellectuality are that of only rappers. Photo: THRILLER
Johnson, C. E. (2015). Meeting the Ethical Challenges of Leadership. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.
Newport, K. G. (2006). The Branch Davidians of Waco: The History and Beliefs of an Apocalyptic Sect. Liverpool: Oxford Publishing.