Αγαπητοί μου Φίλοι,
μπορείτε να διαβάσετε το άρθρο μου “Ήρωες ή Ηγέτες” που δημοσιεύθηκε στην εφημερίδα “ΤΟ ΒΗΜΑ” στις 8/5/2013.
Ελπίζω να σας αρέσει και εάν διαφωνείτε να το σχολιάσετε!
you can read below in English an article of mine published in the newspaper “TO VIMA”
Heroes or Leaders?
When it comes to heroes, one could think of individuals who operate drastically when duty calls, according to given time period and circumstances. Duty consists in actions which can prove of benefit to a group of people, may it be big or small. According to Philip Zimbardo and experiment data about “banality of heroism”, “common” individuals are capable of transforming to heroes when duty calls. Nevertheless, there is also an opposite version entailing “the banality of evil”, according to which every individual is likely to harm other people when circumstances are unfavourable or authority is involved. A philosophical question arises at this point: Can an individual become evil? Accordingly, can an individual turn into a hero?
Such philosophical questions may appear to have no place in an article about leadership. Nevertheless, in today’s societies, where resistance to corruption is often interpreted as incompetence, one should consider that corrupted operations naturally involve a negative impact and thus associate good with evil, common good with common evilness, as well as individuals who fight corruption with the danger coming out of their own attitude.
Evil people are typically distinguished by attitudes intended to harm, insult, humiliate and afflict their innocence. Moreover, by means of assuming another person’s authority, they tend to harm whoever they dislike or consider antagonist. Given that, what is it that makes some people ethical whereas others swamp in immorality and crime? The link between good and evil is currently situated in the context of common good or common interest, as well as in the thin line between good and bad leadership, corruption, lack of meritocracy and immorality. At this point, one should consider the extent to which corruption becomes the norm within a system or operation, as well as the extent to which the sense of morality and duty becomes an objective or an end in itself.
Most of the people who have committed some heroic action claim not to have done something special, arguing that any other individual would have done exactly the same. They do not consider themselves heroes. Therefore, whereas their actions could be seen as heroic, they themselves do not qualify as heroes since they never acted on the purpose of changing the system, even if this entails promoting others in authority positions.
Nowadays, heroism is rare but heroes are truly special. It is all a matter of society. Social awareness and sensibility about the consequences of one’s actions is necessary in order to characterise the deeds heroic and the individual a hero. Indeed, this always depends on who ascribes this particular quality to individuals.
Among the qualities characterising heroic deeds are wisdom, knowledge, courage, self-control and transcendent beliefs and actions. Courage, justice and transcendence are the main characteristics of heroism, also involving self-confidence in the treatment of some threat for the common good. According to psychologists Alice Eagly and Selwyn Becker, a combination of courage and passion for some cause–than merely courage on its own–is most likely to lead in success.
It is worth examining the association between heroism, heroes and leaders, along with the common characteristics of these particular attributes. It may as well be necessity, in a sense of the current need for heroes and leaders along with their heroic actions and acts of leadership, as well as the need for individuals whose primary duty is to provide for the society they live in, the religion they follow and the company they are employed in. A leadership figure is capable of inspiring and assisting people to improve their skills and attitudes, thereby creating small groups of individuals who, according to their characteristics, constitute heroes of everyday life; heroes with the ability to bring about small-scale changes in their environment, also leading the way for other people to follow. Management of such actions depends upon the leader’s intentions and purpose.
This chapter somehow appears to assume dreamlike dimensions. Nevertheless, the need for individuals with the genuine characteristics of a hero gives a clearer view of a problem which yet remains unresolved; the implicit need for genuine leaders.