Over on another thread, M.F. said this: >>In the business world, "The Boss" stereotypically tends to be portrayed as a driven jerk who lacks compassion. His success depends on how ruthless he can be. In this documentary, they said that while the bosses who fit the "psychopath" profile all got high marks for being charismatic and driven, they got low marks on their actual job performance. This was not well explained, but the suggestion was that they are driven to dominate, but not to actually build anything. I ought to go re-watch this segment myself because they kind of left it dangling.<<
As that thread was getting sprawling, and this wasn't directly related, but I thought it deserved attention, I thought I'd bring it over here.
Personaly, in my life, though it's something of a cliche to portray the boss as a jerk, I've found that there are a *WHOLE* lot of leadership styles used by a whole lot of people, all of which work better or worse in varying situations. My late father, for instance, was constitutionally incapable of being a jerk. He had a 40 year career in business, never made an enemy, and everyone who ever worked for him adored him. His former boss was kind of a jerk, but also very successful, and despite his occasional jerkishness, he had a strong sense of loyalty and, yes, even honor. He might have had all the stereotypical bad qualities one sees in bosses, but in the areas where it mattered, and when it mattered, he was on the side of the angels. Then there's this other boss I had that was just terrible, and walked around all day trying to advance his career by trashing other people's.
And some people simply aren't cut out for leadership positions. And some people are. My brother keeps getting put in charge of things - don't matter what - social, work, church, ordering for total strangers at restraunts - he's just that kind of larger-than-life guy who people defer to, whether he wants it or not (Generally he doesn't). And then there's people like me, who aren't leaders, but are useful for facilitating stuff. I'm the guy at the party who keeps the discussion going, and steers it away from dead-end topics like 'sports' and 'wow, isn't this great? This is so great!' My job is to be just interesting enough to make everyone else feel effortlessly interesting, which keeps them talky and engaged and feeling social and confident and good about themselves, which makes for a better party. And, on a larger scale, for a better community. Again: i don't seek it out, it's just a role I fall into again and again, like my brother.
We see a lot of different leadership styles in SF. The Doctor (Who generally just assumes command); Captain Kirk, who somehow makes everyone love him; Captain Sheridan, who honest-to-God *COMMANDS* and people do what he says 'cuz he clearly knows what he's doing; Colonel O'Neil, who's insubordinate, but gets away with it because he's *really* good at his job; Mal Reynolds, who's a broken man who no longer has a soul of his own, so he's built a functioning replacement by surrounding himself with people who have the individual qualities he, himself, lost in the war, and so on. Then there's the TNG type, where the command staff is one big happy family, which is about as exciting as working in a dentist's office, and somewhat less likely. That became a cliche, and it turned up a lot in the 90s (SeaQuest: I'm looking at you). Then there's Jack Sheppard, the very reluctant leader, who only really owns up to it in the last episode. The inspiring Moses figure, like Adama (Original) or the bearded dude from Terra Nova. Or the Emerging Hero who doesn't realize his greatness, like David Sheppard from Kings, or Hurley from Lost. Then there's the completely-out-of-his-depth leader, like Colonel Young from SGU, or Roslin from BSG, who makes a lot of mistakes getting stuck with a job nobody could have forseen, but who gradually rises to the challenge. Then there's the kindly old grandpa type, Potter from M*A*S*H or General Landry (And to a lesser extent, Hammond) from Stargate. The Burocrat has become popular in the last decade as well: Weir from SGA, that bearded dude from "outcasts," and Wray from SGU. In general, I think these examples haven't played out the way they were intended, and (With the only provisional exception of Weir) I think they turn out negative. Oh, I take that back: Woolsey in the final season of SGA. Never *quite* settled into the role, but actually a good burrrocrat leader.
So what type do you like best, and why do you like 'em? And what kind are you? And who's the best exemplar of each, do you think?
The two most obvious are Kirk and Sheridan. As we guardedly agreed in a different thread, Sheridan is probably the better commander, in that he's got the capacity for growth that Kirk lacked. Kirk's a great guy, but as he himself admits, he's only good at one thing, and any attempt to take it from him brings pain. Sheridan *starts out* as a Kirk type, and moves steadily uphill from there, getting better, stronger, deeper, more complex, and, yes, more tragic.