Preface: This researcher searched peer reviewed articles to deal with an uncertain situation, and instability in Pakistan. The present stalemate is a result of multiple factors affecting a common man. Pakistan is taken as an institutional model in speculating resolution to its problems, and the encumbrances to be faced by an emerging leader. The article discusses different traits and skills of leadership of President Barack Obama, President General Zia ul Haq and Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. The writer in his analysis after reviewing three different theories of leaderships with six peer-reviewed articles concludes that no single theory may work to deter chaos and turmoil in Pakistan. An effective leadership will have to have all the three traits and skills of leadership to salvage the situation. Disadvantage: There are limited peer reviewed articles on Pakistani leaderships; hence the scope of analysis is limited. Advantage: There is lot of room to conduct number of research in this area. |
Discussion: Pakistan, a nation of 179 millions, stands at the crossroads of South Asia, the Middle East and Central Asia. It is a strong ally of the United States since her inception in 1947 (U.S., 2007). This researcher has selected the leadership theories of the charismatic style, situational skill, and transformational leadership to act collectively, in salvaging the country out of economic, defense and foreign policy crisis. It is strategically important in maintaining U.S. hegemony in the region. Therefore, the stakeholders are, Pakistan and the United States in this discussion. Leadership style and skills of President Obama are focused in addition to two of the former Pakistani Presidents and their traits of Leadership. There is an analogy in discussing the three leaders to build a model of skills and traits in an effective leadership environment that can save Pakistan in these difficult times. Organizing Pakistan through these leadership skills and traits is beneficial in the current stalemate. This mayhem is an upshot of Pakistan’s long-term engagements in war, increasing corruption, and widespread kleptocracy and nepotism in the society.
Recently Pakistan’s opposition forged an alliance to counter the writ of the government. The country is faced with frustration, economic downturn, declining law and order situation and a constant threat on its borders with India and the northern belt of Afghanistan, in areas under Taliban’s control. Pakistan faced wars after wars in the past four decades since the invasion of the Soviets. The only stable government the country has witnessed were the military rules of General Zia ul Haq and General Pervez Musharraf. This is why this researcher has discussed General Zia. In addition to the above, there is a public resentment against price hike, and an outcry to deal with the terrorist outfits in the country. A larger alliance of the political organizations is forged to devise a joint strategy to deal with corruption, kleptocracy, and nepotism of the treasury benches. Because of it, this researcher received calls from team members of his organization, the Pakistan Policy Institute (PPI) seeking an approval to form a larger coalition. This researcher had his eyes focused on the ground realities. A direct and violent confrontation with a brutal regime is construed as a political blunder. The researcher is a leader with political insight, vision and wisdom who prefers to protect the interests of the nation and his followers. In the light of state sponsored terrorism, it is wise to stay away from a dirty game, and wait for the right choice of timings to outplay the treasury benches. Pakistan’s goals and objectives can be achieved in studying the situational leaderships of General Dwight Eisenhower and General Zia ul Haq, the charismatic leaderships of Oprah Winfrey and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, and the transformational leadership of President Barack Hussain Obama. This researcher will describe in detail as to why he thinks that a combination of the three traits are needed to succeed in Pakistan. And in doing so, he may provide an answer as to why he selected all those three leadership theories from the research materials. Certainly, there exist some parallels between situations that are encountered by Pakistan today, in view of what the United States experienced in the past. 1. Charismatic Leadership. Charismatic leadership is an inherent mettle or frame of mind built-in with confidence, motivational ability, instinct of political wisdom and sagacity in the conquest of upheaval tasks. A good example of such leadership can be seen in the person of Oprah Winfrey (2014). With over four million followers in the social media, she stands capable of selling her ideas with clarity in communication, inborn strength and confidence in mesmerizing her entire audience. Charisma is a sacred gift of power and influence. Those who successfully used the inherent potentials of charisma were Franklin D. Roosevelt (2014), Martin Luther King Jr. (2014), and John F. Kennedy (2014). However, this researcher notes that this style of leadership could nurture destructive leaderships as well, by promoting gross human rights violations as observed in the case of Adolf Hitler (2014), Vladimir Lenin (2014), Mao Tse Tung (2014), and Slobodan Milosevic (2014). The charismatic style of Adolf Hitler was towards devastation and killing of the Jewish community in Germany. This resulted in systemic and state sponsored terrorism ending in the Holocaust with hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens killed at the hands of Nazis. The same type of crimes against humanity was orchestrated through charismatic appeal of ideological and religious values of Slobodan Milosevic in Eastern Europe against the Muslim community. Over200, 000 Muslims were slaughtered under his command. The very style of charisma could be used to promote a positive outcome of events, and could inversely be used to bring destruction and colossal damage to civilizations. This is evident from two opposing behaviors within the same style of leadership.
2. The Situational Leadership: Task oriented leaderships are most effective in either a favorable or unfavorable situation. In 1944, the United States was in a state of shock fearing a loss in the World War II at the hands of the Germans. The confidence was lacking amongst the troops ready to be sent to the war zone by General Dwight Eisenhower. He was faced with a challenging situation in building up the morale of his troops knowingly that most of them would not be able to return from the deadly war zone. The General inspired his paratroopers to move at the war front in Normandy to defeat the Germans with confidence and determination. A history was made, and a victory beyond imaginations was achieved. The General proved his mettle as an effective situational leader. The relationship between a leader’s styles, his association with followers, and their approval rating contributes to the influence of an effective situational leader. A situational leader exhibits his leadership qualities in interacting with followers (Adams & Yolder, 1985). In a situational approach of leadership, a leader’s caliber in inspiring and motivating his subordinates is crucial, whereas maintaining logical and consistent approach is essential (Yuki, 1989).
Most researchers agree that leaders are not innate, ingrained or inborn. A leader who meets the challenges of a given situation, and rises to the needs of his subordinates can emerge as an effective situational leader. A follower perception for an effective leader is vital to sustain long-term engagements. It is, therefore, of significance for a leader to keep his eyes open on the pulse movement of his followers. Few followers under situational leaderships find it manipulative and coercive in nature. In such a case, the method of communication is feared as in authentic and loses credibility, reliability and authority over teammates.
3. Transformational Leadership: the electorate perceived a popular slogan for a change of leadership in the2008 national elections. People were looking for something new and creative. The rhetoric of the past was no more sellable, and the need to bring a new face in the form of a transformational leader to take control of the situation was a popular outcry (Northouse, 2006). When someone takes control of the situation, expresses a clear vision, with defined goals and objectives to inspire his followers, then the followers emerge fully motivated in achieving their targets, which reflects the ability and resolve of a transformational leader. The Presidential biographer, James Macgregor Burns (1978) was the one who initially developed the idea of transformational leadership. He contemplates that the leaders and followers advance to an increasing levels of inspiration and motivation through a wider vision. This brings them together in accomplishing common goals. However, in later research, Bernard M. Bass (2008) redefined transformational leadership based on impacts on team-workers. He suggested that transformational leaders garner respect, admiration and confidence of the followers. Bass further suggests that a transformational leader creates intellectual stimulation amongst followers by devising and encouraging innovative means to build up new opportunities. The leader fosters individualized support by providing openness to each individual breaking the red-tape barriers. Furthermore, a transformational leader articulates inspiration and motivation amongst co-members. Researchers find that empowering subordinates in achieving goals and targets brings positive results. Ronald Rigio (2009) in an article on the Psychology Today is of the view that satisfaction levels of followers in this type of leadership are much higher than others. The disadvantage in transformational leadership is the over-reliance of these leaders on enthusiasm, sentiments and emotions, while ignoring verity and veracity. Obsession on those factors would restrain a leader from finding a harsh truth about a frustrating situation. In order to stabilize a worsening situation, a leader needs to dig out the truth to devise an effective strategy.
Analysis and key themes.
Charismatic Leadership of Bhutto:(A) Supported by research article of Hussain, Mahboob captioned, Parliament in Pakistan 1971-77 and Chief Executive published in the Journal of Political Studies, 2013. The article fundamentally raises the insignificance of the Pakistani parliament in a democratic government of Z.A. Bhutto, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan. Though, the three main pillars of governance in Pakistan include, the Executive, the Judiciary and the Parliament (U.S. Library of Congress, 2014). Bhutto was a man who could play with the sentiments and emotions of the masses. He had the inherent potential of charisma deep rooted into his personality. He could address public gatherings of hundreds of thousands and make them laugh, and the next moment makes them cry. He was in full command and control of events by virtue of his charismatic style.
As discussed earlier, about Adolf Hitler, and Slobodan Milosevic to have used charisma in promoting their evil designs? One of the drawbacks of charisma is the very notion that this style of leadership can contribute either way. It could well be detrimental to national or institutional interests, or help bring progress and prosperity. Power tends to corrupt those who don’t have controls, and an absolute power leads to a dangerous brew of political turmoil and violent conflict in government functioning of an evil charismatic leader. Absolute power brought a total disregard to state institutions by Bhutto. He was ultimately overthrown in a military coup of General Zia ul Haq, and finally hanged under a controversial court ruling.
Charismatic Leadership of Bhutto: (B) Supported by a research article of Chandio, A.A., & Soomro, A. N., in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business, 2012. The article postulates that Z.A. Bhutto (U.S. Library of Congress, 2014), a former Prime Minister of Pakistan effectively exploited nationalism in advancing his political ambitions. As discussed earlier, few evil geniuses have capitalized on their charismatic style to inspire their followers to ideological, religious, or racial values, thus creating a divide and hate in societies. In promoting his political ambitions, Bhutto divided his nation into racial and ethnic subgroups.
Situational Leadership of General Zia ul Haq:(A) This article reflects the situational leadership of General Zia as opposed to General Pervez Musharraf. It was published in the Journal of International Women’s Studies, 2009. It is presumed that effectiveness of a particular style of a leader, or behavior changes with a changing environment. A change in situation brings an appropriate change to suit the needs expected of a leader.
The article discusses two different scenarios, one led by the enlightened moderation of women’s rights by General Musharraf, and the other of upholding traditional values in the military government of General Zia. Most scholars contemplate the period of General Zia as conservative in approach, while that of General Musharraf were based on modern values. The article is silent on the fact that both of them seized power fewer than two different situations. In the case of General Musharraf, the world faced the terrorists’ attacks of 9/11, which was orchestrated by hatemongers. These hate mongers attempted to promote their radical ideology on peaceful citizens across the globe. There was a situational need to defeat radical ideologies that may have brought clash of civilizations. The modernization of cultural values, gender and racial equality was the need of the hour.
However, in case of General Zia, the entire world was faced with Communist expansionist designs led by the Soviets. The Soviets had invaded Afghanistan, (Department of State. 2013), and were preparing to takeover Pakistan. They had a clear expansionist design to takeover the entire region gradually. To defeat communist threat, there was a dire need to unite religious forces across the continents. The Muslims, Jews and Christians got united as the people of the books. Pakistan’s Zia regime successfully exploited religion to defeat communism. The United States and Pakistan jointly developed a strategy to use religious sentiments of Mujahedeen (Soviet War in Afghanistan, 2014), and pitch them against the communists. The Soviet Union was not only defeated, but also dismembered. This strategy was the situational need of a great Pakistani General, Zia ul Haq who made his place in the radiant pages of history by defeating a super power, the USSR. The article tends to ignore a major part of contemporary history, and looks biased in recognizing the strength of General Zia ul Haq undisputed by the students of history.
Situational Leadership of General Zia ul Haq: (B) The article, “distributive consideration in institutional change: the case of Zia’s Islamization policy in Pakistan”, was published in the Constitutional Political Economy (2013) by Khan, K. This study demonstrates the role of religion and ideology as relevant in shaping up of an institutional change. General Zia properly exploited this in fighting war with the Soviets, and sought legitimacy to his rule through this model of situational leadership. He brought Islamic clauses to the constitution, thus motivating the orthodox religious segment of the society to join hands with him in both the domestic legitimacy, and in an international war with the Soviets. It helped him tremendously in receiving financial aid through the joint alliance of the Western powers including the United States. Religion serves as a model of strength, if used to unite people, but with the same token, it may create divide and hate in a pluralistic society. During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (Soviet War in Afghanistan, 2013), the common grounds of Abrahamic doctrine played a potent role in uniting Christians, Muslims and Jews. This resulted in the defeat of the communists, however in the current environment leading to the events of 9/11, it has been noticed that radical religious beliefs are the dividing force that created a surge in religious bias and hatred. Religion has two sides of a coin. It is up to the situational leader as to how he manipulates the situation to meet his objectives. The crux of the matter is that General Zia succeeded in his objectives and emerged as a great situational leader of his times.
The drawback here is that after winning a war in Afghanistan, why would a leader of that era fail to reinforce victory in the region. Why was the vision missing in devising a strategy to keep the Mujahedeen engaged, rather than leaving them at lurch after covert and overt successes in Afghanistan? Had there been a vision, there would have been no 9/11. Guma, G. (2013) discusses issues that focuses in failures when the secret plans go bad. This researcher totally disagrees with the author that the CIA paid a price of supporting the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan, which gave rise to the Al-Qaeda and Taliban, who tried to damage western interests around the world. It is not that simple. The allied forces and Pakistan succeeded in breaking the communist myth through clandestine operations using Mujahedeen as a tool, but they lacked the vision to engage these militias after the end of this war. They were militarily trained, and were left without targets, or engagements. This resulted in finding targets of their own making, by abusing a peaceful religion. In situational leadership, a lack of vision is commonly a drawback. An attempt to deal with an immediate situation does not guarantee a sustained relief in the days ahead of the conflict. A situational leader needs to focus in the aftermath of a victory to reinforce the gains. This was missing here, which resulted in 9/11.
Transformational Leadership of Obama: What parallels are drawn from Obama’s leadership vis a vis a situation in Pakistan. The reason Obama is discussed in reference to a situation in Pakistanis based on certain similarities between the United States, and Pakistan. In the year 2008, the electorate in the United States were dejected, the economy was taking a downturn, and there was no hope towards ending a long war. The Pakistani situation in 2014 corresponds with the U.S. situation of 2008. There is dejection, economic downturn, an unending war and an unending terrorism in Pakistan. In a situation like that, there is a need to understand, what a transformational leader of Obama’s stature means to Pakistan in providing relief to her citizens.
(A) The National Journal published an article authored by Hirsh, M. & Madhani, A. (2010) reviewing leadership flaws of President Barack Obama towards the economic downturn of the country, with his poor response to a popular furor. The voters were skeptical of his ability and resolve in dealing with the situation created out of a declining economy. Did he care to doff his standing as a recognized transformational leader in American history?
The article collects information based on President Obama’s speeches on economy. He looked inspired by the past policies of President Ronald Regan, which he mentioned in a speech in Illinois in 2007,while criticizing the policies of President Bill Clinton. Obama seemed to have full awareness of the outrage amongst the masses on economic issues. The drawback in his leadership was a failure in meeting the expectations of the electorate on economy. In a current situation, Pakistan could be salvaged through a persuasive transformational leader identical to Obama, but assertive in dealing with economy. This leader has to exhibit political savvy, creative style and a charismatic personality to win the hearts and minds of the people, or his followers.
(B)A journal of the Academy of Strategic Management published an article on “transformational leadership influenced a cultural shift in a postmodern world by electing Barack Obama in the election 2008”. The impact of postmodernism on transformational leadership is a significant part of this study. Analysts in the leadership management have a lot to learn in campaign management while going through the determinants that leads to an election victory in the United States (Spiegel, 2001). In building up an analogy between Pakistan’s current electoral processes with a change in leadership to face the challenges ahead of Pakistan, a campaign manager needs to study Obama’s campaign in its entirety. Pakistan is faced with rampant corruption, terrorist activities and a declining economy. The old rhetoric will not work, and a change should be on the cards to avert an economic collapse.
Selecting a right leadership approach to salvage Pakistan and its institutions.
In order to arrive at conclusions in search of a Messiah to takeover Pakistani institutions, and rescind the present economic crunch, reverse political plight and quash security crisis, there is a need to conduct an autopsy to ascertain the causes behind this mess. Once the etiology of the current stalemate is established, then things get easier to move forward towards its resolution. In running small businesses, a single approach may suit challenges ahead of those institutions, however at a macro level in dealing with nations and state institutions, a combination of all of the above factors are essential. The charismatic dexterity, situational expertise and transformational adeptness is very much needed in a successful leadership that can deliver to salvage political instability, economic upheaval and security lapse in Pakistan. 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