The Persuasive Leader
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The communication aspect of leadership – to actively engage your followers and achieve understanding and motivation whilst making the message memorable – has never been more important. Using vivid lessons and examples from spheres outside business organization, The Persuasive Leader explores the leader's role as a communicator and teaches the fundamental principles of successful leadership.

This book provides insights and principles about persuasive leadership from a broad range of human experiences. It draws on examples of persuasive leaders and persuasive leadership principles from the performing arts, the fine arts, literature, philosophical writings, and biography. The authors use their unconventional material to explore themes such as moral leadership, toxic leadership, learning from failures, 'distributed' leadership, leading for results and the leader as a mentor and counsellor.

Leaders described in The Persuasive Leader:

Abraham Lincoln, Jack Welch, Cleopatra, Teddy Roosevelt, Alexander the Great, Rachel Carson, Joshua Chamberlain, Governor John Winthrop, Barack Obamma, Steve Jobs, Henry V, Julius Caesar, John Quincy Adams, Dwight Eisenhower, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Huey Long, Napoleon, Ghandi, Sam Walton, Archbishop Sean O'Malley, Benjamin Franklin, Franklin Roosevelt, Jim Sinegal, Dolly Madison, James Jones, Clarence Darrow, William Harvey, Ronald Reagan, Fletcher Christian, Thomas Jefferson, Nelson Mandela, Charles McCormick, George Washington, Oprah Winfrey, Joan of Arc, John Kennedy, Herbert Hoover, Christopher Columbus, Anita Roddick, John DeLorean, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and others less well known persuasive leaders such as Anne Sullivan, TS Lin, Maria Galantry, Dorothy Collins, Scott Nash, Jane Hughes, William Barnes.


Stephen J. Carroll is a retired professor emeritus at the University of Maryland, who now works as a private consultant. During his career he has authored twelve books on psychology and organizational behaviour. He has served as a consultant to more than 30 industrial and government organizations and is a regular speaker at the University of Maryland and Syracuse University executive courses. He is best known for his books on performance assessment and leadership.  He first developed the idea for this book in his courses for company executives where he found they responded particularly well to the case examples from the arts and from day to day life.

Patrick C Flood is an Academic Fellow at Cambridge University. He has worked at the London Business School, University of Maryland, University of Limerick, Dublin City University and the London School of Economics. He is known primarily for his work on leadership teams and firm performance. His books include Effective Top Management Teams (2001, Blackwelll; Managing Strategy Implementation (with S.J.Carroll, Blackwell, 2000) (5000 copies sold over life) and Managing without Traditional Methods (Addison Wesley, 1996). He is currently external examiner at SAID business school and consults for the following companies: Pernod Ricard-Irish Distillers; Nypro-Clinton(US); Hewlett Packard (UK), Wang, Paul Partnership and VEC, Novartis, Nortel, ICL (UK), NHS(UK).


Foreword by Denise M. Rousseau xvi

Preface xvii

Acknowledgements xviii

About the authors xix

1 Persuasive leadership in life and work 1

Beginning cases 2

What is leadership? 4

Persuasive leadership in a new world 5

A newer focus on emotions and logic 6

Leadership as a social role in all living groups 6

Leadership legacies 7

Leadership goals 8

Leadership sub-roles 9

Leadership in changing crcumstances 9

Leader agendas 10

Leadership and the arts 10

Parents as persuasive leaders 11

Leadership and strategies 11

Do leaders need charisma? 12

Persuasion as a key to all leadership efforts 13

Leaders as coherent wholes 13

Learning from examples 13

Types of persuasion settings 14

Types of Leadership 15

Leadership skills as identified in the arts and humanities 15

Do we need empirical studies of leadership? 16

Leaders and ethical behaviours 17

Leaders as examples of persuasive and moral principles 17

2 Usingaesthetics and the arts in persuasive leadership 21

Beginning cases 22

Leaders using the arts 24

What are the arts? 25

Practical use of the arts 25

The aesthetic response 26

Aesthetics and human evolution 27

Unity among the arts 27

Performance art 28

Leader–managers as architects 28

The orchestra conductor metaphor 29

Music in aesthetics 30

Humans as artists 31

Theatrical principles in leadership 32

Fictional versus actual leaders 33

Behaving like an artist 34

3 Usingwords effectively in persuasive speech and writing 37

Beginning cases 38

Evolution of language 39

Importance of word choice 39

Power of words to evoke emotion 40

Aesthetic versus non-aesthetic language 41

Function of fictional stories 41

Use of stories in persuasion 42

Delivering words effectively 42

Audience reactions to words 45

Words reflect characteristics of the speaker 45

Being open-minded in one’s communications 46

4 Persuasive leadership and rhetoric principles 49

Beginning cases 50

Persuasion principles from philosophy 51

Persuasion in literature 52

Henry V 53

Julius Caesar 55

Joshua Chamberlain 56

Discussion of speeches 58

5 Persuasive leadership-planningconsiderations 63

Beginning cases 64

Studying the prospective audience 65

Building credibility 66

Obtain endorsements by influential persons 66

Build competence and coalitions 67

Gather facts and arguments in favor of goals 67

Plan for creating arousal/activation and more memorable messages 68

Planning for message content 68

Preparation 69

Practice 69

Choose optimum timing and setting 70

Emotional appeals 70

Use of dramatic principles in persuasion planning 70

Creating an engaging character—yourself 71

Learning acting skills 71

Process of planning 72

Using the arts in planning 72

6 Audience characteristics 77

Beginning cases 78

Audience characteristics 78

Audience to leader effects 79

Use of participation 80

Audience concerns 82

Psychological needs of the audience 82

Effect of cultural differences in audience responses 83

Motivational propensities in an audience 83

Occupational differences 84

Gender, ethnic, racial, and age differences 84

7 Leader–follower emotional ties 89

Beginning cases 90

Leader–follower attraction 92

Leader–follower bonding 93

Narcissistic behaviour 93

Attraction to morality 94

Attractiveness versus behaviour 94

Similarity 95

Openness and attraction 96

Optimistic and hopeful leaders 96

Respect for differences 96

8 Creatingpositive responses in sub-leaders and followers 99

Beginning cases 100

Leading sub-leaders 101

Counselling group members as individuals 102

Creating positive emotional states 103

Leaders as role models 105

Positive psychology 106

Optimism in the arts 108

Adversity coaching 108

Matching individuals and groups with appropriate tasks 109

Social barriers to persuasion 109

9 Persuasive leadership and change 113

Beginning cases 114

Change as a constant 115

Some fundamental causes of resistance to change efforts 116

Importance of feelings of self-efficacy in the motivation to change 117

Leader effectiveness versus likeability 117

Leadership and admiration—Benjamin Franklin 118

Franklin's targeted virtues 119

Using goals in change 120

Handling multiple factors in change 120

Self-leadership and change 121

Psychotherapy as an aid to change 121

Creating positive emotions 122

How small changes can have big effects 122

10 Strategic plans as a persuasive tool 125

Beginning cases 126

What are strategies? 127

Importance of acceptance of strategies 127

Credibility in the strategic planning process 128

Strategic plans and goal setting 128

Importance of self-perceived efficacy in goal achievement 129

Visioning and goal setting 130

Follow-up activities in strategic implementation 131

11 Harmful persuasion 135

Beginning case 136

Doing harm with persuasion 136

Types of harm 137

Why do such persuasive leaders act the way they do? 138

Confronting evil 138

Why is harmful persuasion accepted? 138

Standing up to injustice 139

Helping orientations 139

The role of deception in harmful persuasion 141

Deceptive messages well delivered 142

12 Self-leadership 145

Beginning cases 146

Leadership and self-management 147

Political liberty 147

Freedom in organizations 148

Trends in self-direction in several fields 149

Self-direction in parenting and preparation for self-direction 149

Therapy and other individual change programmes 149

Differential degrees of self-leadership and wasted human assets 150

Self-management and human respect and dignity 150

Self-leadership and the professional 151

13 Persuasive variations in different settings 153

Beginning cases 154

Persuasion in the courtroom 156

The law as a symbol of justice 158

Persuasion in the medical community 158

Persuasion in the home 160

Architecture 161

Philanthropic and artistic organizations 161

In the political arena 161

14 Achievingtrust and cooperation 165

Beginning cases 166

Leadership issues in cooperation 167

Reactions to authority 168

Origins of trust 169

Types of trust 170

Follower and leader needs 172

Explaining and fostering cooperation among group members 172

15 The noble persuasive leader 179

Beginning cases 180

What is nobility? 182

Roots of noble behaviour 182

Religion and nobility 183

Nobility in business enterprises 184

Nobility as a social class 184

Noble behaviour in the form of altruism and helping 185

The appeal of noble leaders 186

Immoral leaders 186

What are immoral practices in terms of morality within organizations? 187

Moral development 188

16 Leadership emergence 191

Beginning cases 192

Choosing leaders 194

Situational factors in persuasive leader emergence and effectiveness 194

Some indicators of leader emergence and success 195

Leaders as independent visionaries 198

Persuasiveness in leader effectiveness 198

Leader–follower interactions 199

Mindsets of effective leaders 199

What do prospective followers want in a leader? 200

Leadership changes 201

17 Handlingproblems and failure 203

Beginning cases 204

What are problems and failures? 206

Failures due to a changing world 207

Causes of persuasion failures 208

Persuasion failures mixed with successes 208

Persuasion failures due to competing social cultures 208

Politics and persuasion failures 209

Personal characteristics in reacting to problems and failures 210

Role of arrogance and hubris in failures 210

18 Why become a persuasive leader? 215

Beginning cases 216

Persuasiveness as a means to significant ends 218

Changing life roles 219

The human search for happiness 219

What is true (rather than perceived) happiness? 220

Expectations and happiness 221

Good and evil ends 221

Redeeming oneself 222

The ideal persuasive leader in fiction 223

Search for a meaningful life 225

Expectations and success 226

Avoidance of regrets/remorse 226

Persuasion and performance and a changed self-identity 227

Role of positive values 228

Life as a search for beauty 229

Summary 229

End cases 230

Exercise 231

Works cited 232


A Brief look at some of the relevant arts and humanities 233

B Happiness 239

C Behaviours of the best and worst bosses 243

D Selected social science theories relevant to persuasive leadership 247

Bibliography 253

Index 259