Power Leadership The Art of Being Right

Jagoda Poropat Darrer

Power Leadership: The Art of Being Right

Objavljeno u časopisu Diplomacy and Commerce, ožujak, 2018. godine


Fascinating Jennifer Lawrence in a movie Red Sparrow incorporates something we trust to be movie-like spy adventures of a young Russian prima ballerina becoming a part of the elite squad of Russian intelligence. Although, this entertaining fiction lies on some universal psychological and rhetorical truths: every human being is a puzzle of needs. You have to find the missing piece and you will gain a power position.

Automatic imitation is commonly used to refer to cases in which an individual, having observed a body movement, unintentionally performs a similar body movement or alters the way that a body movement is performed. Neuroscientists suggest that automatic imitation is mediated by the mirror neuron system. Mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when somebody acts and when somebody observes the same action performed by another (Keysers 2010).  Many studies link mirror neurons to understanding other people goals and intentions providing a mechanism for action-understanding, imitation-learning, and the simulation of other people’s behavior (Schippers, Roebroeck, Renken, Nanetti, Keysers, 2010).

In addition to the psychological ways to infer someone’s behavior and then use it in a social context for persuasion, there’s a rhetorical way as well. Known philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer in his book Eristic dialectic: The Art of Being Always Right listed innate capabilities of astute people of replaying to any argument with a dishonest trick in order to help less natural astute persons to recognize such behavior and fight it in any debating situation.  He “collected all the dishonest tricks so frequently occurring in argument and clearly presented each of them in its characteristic setting, illustrated by examples and given a name of its own”…such as Becoming Personal, Insulting, Rude – argumentum ad hominem, argument of pity – ad misericodiam, argument of popularity – ad populum, Generalizing upon Your Opponent’s Specific Statements, False Propositions, Make Your Opponent Angry, Generalize Admissions of Specific Cases, Choose Metaphors Favorable to Your Proposition, Agree to Reject the Counter-Proposition, Claim Victory Despite Defeat, Use Seemingly Absurd Propositions and many more adding a means to be used against them, as a kind of guard against these fallacious arguments.

Female Politicians Vs. Male Politicians Approach to Persuasion

The best way to fight fallacious arguments are active listening, identifying logical incoherence in your opponent speech, always warning your opponent about the fallacious, and defending yourself with simply emphasizing the truth, insisting on facts, data and real arguments.

Traditionally, the most appreciated leadership characteristics were masculine in their nature. Aristotle emphasized the gender as the important part of the speakers’ ethos. Nevertheless, assertiveness, individualism, and task orientation perceived as the masculine feature did not always contribute to the efficacy of leadership. Instead, the transformational leadership has emerged, and its efficiency is supported by more and more researchers. It is interesting that many of the traits of the transformational leadership (such as collaboration and empowerment) are associated traditionally with women, which illustrates that many feminine features contribute to the leadership efficacy (Radu, Deaconu, Frasineanu, 2017).

When it comes to gender differences in using arguments to win a dispute situation in the political arena things are quite interesting. Some scholars have defined two gender-associated language styles as rhetorical tools that are used by men and women to achieve certain objectives. Masculine language is commanding and instrumental; it is considered conducive to politics. Feminine language is intimate and unifying; it is considered too passive for politics (Larner 2009). Male rhetoric is therefore often adhered to as competitive and aggressive (Maltz and Borker 1982; Mansfield 2006) whilst female discourse is characterized as supportive and inclusive (Maltz and Borker 1982).

However, Kišiček (2008) conducted a research that included, among others, Croatian politicians, both female and male and found „…that there are gender-related differences in the frequency of certain types of arguments, but also in the frequency of eristic arguments and logical errors. However, many of the rhetorical elements have been found to be the characteristic of political discourse itself and that they are not gender-dependent.”

Women use facts, data, topos, logical conclusions, excellent word choice, appropriate metaphors, they convey the message confidently, calm with good body languages as well as their male colleagues. Moreover, there was a male politician recognized as a female and another one vice versa – a woman speaker recognized as a man by the examinees. Yet, there are differences. Male politicians are keen to reach out for fallacious arguments such as argumentum ad hominem, and ad populum. Female are more likely to use the trick argumentum ad misericordiam to evoke pity, and more frequently use the argument of authority then men which emphasize themselves as authorities rather than others. Kišiček (2010) concludes that women politicians are equally persuasive as their male colleagues.

The power of the true leaders, regardless the gender, lies in perceiving others needs and the will to perform as a real leader entering the wardrobe of eloquence, as Pirandello considered rhetoric, to which naked thoughts go to get dressed.

Tekst uz sliku:

The best way to fight fallacious arguments are active listening, identifying logical incoherence in your opponent speech, always warning your opponent about the fallacious, and defending yourself with simply emphasizing the truth, insisting on facts, data and real arguments.