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Charismatic leaders can either build the society or use their charisma to tear down well-established institutions through their influence on social groups. Leadership plays a critical role of shaping how people live and work together. In any society, there are leaders that people accept to provide leadership and orient their goals. While it is true that societies and organizations have leaders, there seems to be a clear distinction on how these leaders appeal before their subjects. Some leaders lead in the transformation of their society, with the use of Charisma while others do not prefer using this approach. Most of the charismatic leaders are expressive, self-confident, visionary, and emotional, which gives them the ability to win the confidence of their subjects, as well as edge out other rivals (Fiske, Gilbert, and Lindzey, 1194). Charismatic leaders can provide incompetent leadership or create divisions in society by working creating group thinking, working with mafia, or even creating terror groups. Osama Bin Laden is one of the charismatic leaders who used his influence to win people who joined his cause of unleashing terror on United States and its sympathizers.
Osama Bin Laden as an unauthentic charismatic leader
Charismatic leaders use impression techniques to express their competence, create faith in the followers, and ensure that their subordinates comply with their requirements. These are the attributes that Osama had as a leader of Al-Qaida before the US Navy Seals shot him dead in Pakistan this year (Cooper, Peter and Mark para.1). Bin Laden was an effective leader who had charismatic abilities to lead the masses and pull others towards his cause—terror. The world has many terror groups built on certain values and committed to achieving certain objectives with the society, or across their boundaries, as well. Among the terror groups, Bin Laden remained a leader of Al-Qaida a terror group, which many people recognized to be fighting the US interests abroad, especially to in Afghanistan and other nations that had made ties with United States. While many people knew him as a leader, other few noted him as charismatic persons, who used his influence to rally other people as terrorist.
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Born in a wealth family, Bin Laden enjoyed the lavishness this family provided for him, but he still chose to tear down institutions through terror. To achieve this goal, he had to curve out a winning strategy that could see him win the heart of many. Indeed, his ability to use charisma worked out as he managed to attract people into his terror group—Al Qaeda. In what seems like a smart use of Charisma, Bin Laden convinced many people to join his radical group, not just from Afghanistan where he hailed from, but also from other parts of the world. In order to provide leadership to a group that pledged allegiance to him, Bin Laden used a deadly strategy that made his followers remember of Bin Laden’s love and humility. Because of deadly use of this strategy, Bin Laden grew his empire by attracting terror groups into his group, the Al-Qaeda, which sourced followers from different terror cells.
With the United States as a target, Bin Laden employed his charismatic attributes to win followers who gladly joined his terror cells. Whether from Yemen or Somali, Bin Laden leadership wooed many terrorist who volunteered for undergo rigorous training, not to mention acting as vehicles of terror (Gartenstein-Ross 44). For a long period, Bin Laden worked with his henchmen to established training locations for all volunteer who joined his terror group. Surprisingly, many people move to locations with terror groups in order to receive training and other instruction on would be targets. Being that Bin Laden was a gifted speaker who spoke with eloquence, he often appeared on various media to pull jihadist into his cause. Through out his tenure as an Al-Qaeda leader, Bin Laden provided the vision that many terrorist still hold. With his anti United States sentiments, Bin Laden was confident that unleashing terror on the United States was a sure way of combating the United States, whom she thought as evil. Because of his Charisma, Bin Laden staffed Al-Qaeda terror group within a short time.
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Leadership has a correlation with the provision of community practice. With leadership being a process, leaders are keen in keeping their followers in the community with a focus on attaining a given purpose or commitment. True, Bin Laden was not just a leader with a desire to have people who marveled and revered him. Instead, he was keen on establishing a network of followers spread across the world with a goal to inflict harm on their well-selected targets. The United States government argued that Bin Laden was a leader and a prominent symbol of the Al-Qaeda, giving the terror group a significant number of followers across the world. His followers revered him and saw him as a de facto Leader who provided them with vision, as well as faith in their values. Most important, Bin Laden served as a critical link between volunteers and the values of Al-Qaeda group.
Based on leadership theories, charismatic leaders can do well if they rally their followers toward a just goal. However, the reverse is also true when leaders use their charisma to achieve self-interest that that does not bring benefit to others (Blum 33). Bin Laden was a leader who coerced many of his followers to hate the United States and develop strategies to combat them at all cost. With authority, Bin Laden managed to create and organize his Al-Qaeda group into believing his notion on the need of terror against the United States. Consequently, his followers caught the vision of Bin Laden making him become a mastermind, who organized for new targets and at the same time praised the terrorists who volunteered. Incredibly, the terror network of Al-Qaeda took part in various missions across the world serving as a demonstration of how Bin Laden had taken root as the ultimate leader of the groups.
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There is no doubt Bin Laden was insensitive to the need of his groups. As leader of extremists and terrorists, Bin Laden kept his self-interest before those of his group (Ricketts and Ricketts 15). In his leadership process, he hid himself and encouraged many terrorist who risked their lives and even some facing death because of their group value—terror. In what seems like a perverted form of leadership, Bin Laden used the religion to describe the United States as evil and worthy to be the targets of terrorist. Notably, he devised many plots to harm the United States, both at home and abroad. Bin Laden emphasis of suicidal strategies underscored the fact that he was not focussed on the needs of his group. Rather, his goal was to impart influence and instill disobedience at all ranks of Al-Qaeda. Indeed, Bin Laden remained as the kingpin of Al-Qaeda until his dead this year when a tactical team Seals team stormed into his hideout in Pakistan (Cooper, Peter and Mark, para. 2).
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Bin Laden was skilled in using crises to secure more followers and at the same time promote the values of his group. To secure control of his terror group, Bin Laden used a strategy of rallying supporters behind a crisis (Ricketts and Ricketts 15). For instance, Bin Laden used his influence to generate more dissent among Islamic radicals after the United States and its Coalition forces invaded Iraq, ousting Saddam Hussein. In addition, the American invasion of Afghanistan provided him a reason to convince terrorist into joined Al-Qaeda in other to fight the invaders. Clearly, these crises gave Bin Laden the opportunity to recruit more followers, not to mention creating more dissent among this group. Ultimately, his resilience and evasion of capture made him employ novel strategies to preach hatred of the United States. Significantly, he used videos posted in Islamic websites praising the faith and courage of terrorist in Iraq, Palestine, the United States, as well as other places (Steyrer 66).
Al-Qaeda has taken part in countless counts of terror acts. This is an indication of Bin Laden influence on the terrorist. Over time, Bin Laden idealized his influence over the Al-Qaeda making them perceive death a price. However, the terrorist have no respect for the lives and property of other people around them. In what can be seen as a retaliation against justice, terror groups continue to operate even after the death of their leader—Bin Laden. Before September 2001, Bin Laden hatched a plot to take down the World Trade Center using American resources. With the help of a handful of terrorists, Al-Qaeda brought down a devastating impact on American interest in New York. Bin Laden Network caused immense destruction of property in Kenya and Tanzania when terrorist attempted to blow the US embassies (Abele 55). To date, Al-Qaeda plan and execute, many counts of terror act in various part of the world with an aim of weakening the United States and its allies. Even with a new leader, Al-Qaeda’s are relying on the vision and vigor from Bin Laden who served as a charismatic leader with negative influence. Whereas the United States published the PATRIOTIC Act to combat the Al-Qaeda and other terror network, Bin Laden idealized values of terror still remain in the heart of many terrorist in failed states such as Somali, as well as the United States, seeking an opportunity to strike.
In summary, charisma can have a negative impact in society if leaders used it in a negative way. Osama Bin Laden used his charismatic attributes to build a formidable group under his control—Al-Qaeda. This group aims at combating the United States and its interest. Over time, this group has cause pain and grief having not respect for societal goals and values
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