The Artist as Transformational Leader
Go online to “Google Images” and look at Chris Jordan’s photography. Jordan documents American mass consumption with his large-scale images. Look at as many images as you can, especially those of crushed cars, plastic bags, water bottles, and cell phones. What is your reaction to seeing such massive waste?
Reflect on the following questions:
- Is critical social commentary a form of leadership?
- Are statistics needed to back up Jordan’s images? Why did Jordan doubt the power of his art?
- Is critical social commentary a form of transformational leadership? How does it express the four I’s of transformational leadership?
- Can you think of other artists who have transformed their communities or the larger society? How did they accomplish this?
Go online to a business magazine home page such as INC (http://www.inc.com) or Fortune (http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune). In the search box, enter one of the key terms from the chapter, such as transformational leadership, transactional leadership, charisma, idealized influence, or inspirational motivation. Read two or three of the articles that you find and write a short summary of their content. How are these topics relevant for workers today? What is the role of communication in these processes? What does the new information contribute to our understanding of transformational leadership?
- Option 1: Create a fishbone diagram in class showing how these topics are connected to one another. (For an example of a fishbone template and other graphic organizers, see www.writedesignonline.com/organizers/index.html.)
- Option 2: Create your own fishbone diagrams using the material discussed in class. On the basis of your diagrams, are there any gaps in your understanding of transformational leadership? What research questions remain unanswered?
Look up leadership quotes online and bring some of your favorites to class. There are many websites dedicated to posting such information; some with accompanying photos and music. Discuss in small groups: Why did this quote ring true for you? Which of the quotes would reflect the beliefs of a transformational leader? How useful are quotes for motivating oneself? Motivating others?
Pike Place Fish Market
Look up a video clip on YouTube (or watch in class) of the fish sellers at the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle. What are they trying to do with this unusual style of selling fish? In what ways are they being transformational? What are the implications for daily life?
Some of the leading news magazines (such as Time, Newsweek, Forbes) have an annual edition or article that reviews the worst tyrants or dictators in the world. Research one of these leaders online and report back to class. What was this person like in childhood and adolescence? What were the formative experiences of this person’s life? When did this leader become self-consumed, power-oriented, exploitative, or amoral? Why does this person have followers? What do followers hope to gain from this leader? Can the world ever rid itself of pseudotransformational leaders?
Tweeting like a Leader
If you are following a thought leader on Twitter throughout the term, report on how the leader inspires followers on Twitter. Is it possible to convey dominance, desire to influence, self-confidence, and strong moral values in such an abbreviated format? Does the frequency of tweets matter? Retweeting others’ posts? How can effects on followers be measured? Over the term, collect examples of best tweeting practices for leaders.