When leadership fails the individual and society is weakened: The murder of Shahbaz Bhatti

March 3, 2011

Without leadership, there is little to protect individual rights of freedom of speech, liberty, and even of survival from actions of primitive brutality. Transformational leadership can elevate society. It can also drag it down

This week we learned of the violent death of Pakistan’s minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti [Wed March 2nd 2011].

In the space of a few months, two political leaders have been assassinated in Pakistan. Both had made public stance which others considered to have offended their religious beliefs. The Government of Pakistan appears to be unable to protect individual rights.

Transformational leadership

Some decades ago a newish idea about leadership became popular. Leaders were said to be transformational, able to act so that people could become less self-oriented.

But from the outset, the idea of transformational leadership ran into a horrendous dilemma which became known as The Hitler problem. Didn’t Hitler transform a generation to accepting a belief that placed the State above the individual? Was this not a fine example of transformational leadership?

The dark side

Transformational leadership from a Ghandi or a Mandela elevates societies. Transformational leadership also can enable acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, political and religious assassinations in the name of patriotism, or a religious belief or even to protect personal power and economic wealth.