Political Sociology Assignment
Power involves a potential influence that an individual has over other individuals. It is an interpersonal influence aimed at manipulating others to change (Tedeschi, 2008, p. 3). Power can be expressed in numerous ways. Sometimes, leaders utilize their power to coerce their subjects to accomplish their self-interests. Subordinates usually follow their leader’s decree for fear of being punished or oppressed. According to Machiavelli’s principles, power should not be imaginary; instead, it should express the real truth. Truth depicts how power is, not how it should be. Therefore, a modern leader should be concerned with how practical his leadership style is, rather than how leadership should be.
It is the responsibility of the prince to safeguard his state, and this can be achieved through expressing good behaviors. Bad characters are likely to ruin the state through blame. To avoid being blamed, a prince should understand all the vices, and sometimes use them whenever necessary to express his power. A good leader should seek praise from his subjects, and his rule should be open to criticism. A leader who is compassionate, bold, generous, sincere and frivolous attracts love from his followers.
A modern leader should be loved, rather than feared. When people love their leaders, they can sacrifice their effort to serve him. In a battle where soldiers love their commander and where a commander is feared by his juniors, the former is likely to win most battles. This is because it is easier to express love than it is to show fear. Leaders who are loved have a greater understanding of their followers, thus, are capable of empowering and motivating them to achieve higher goals than they can imagine. A leader who makes his subjects fear him exercises self-interest. Fear should not be dismissed completely in leadership, as it helps in creating an effect. In the contemporary world, many people usually adhere to the laws since they feel that it is their responsibility to do so. Others normally follow the laws because failure to do so will amount to a reprimand.
I do not think Machiavelli’s advice is relevant in the modern world because being feared or loved is a matter of choice. Machiavelli’s advice is a criticism of good life. The notion of being feared, rather than being loved is a sign of dictatorship. Being fear allows the prince to get all that he requires with ease, but does not encourage growth. The current world does not entertain authoritarianism. Leading with fear creates avoidance behavior, since nobody wants to make mistakes (Daft & Lane, 2008, p. 151). It is quite contradicting for a leader to rule by fear, yet he strives to exhibit good qualities.
Today’s leadership has changed, and politicians are leading people who are more knowledgeable than them. Leaders are chosen according to how well they can meet the need of voters, rather than how tough they can command their subjects. A leader cannot win love and hate concurrently. If he rules with fear, he loses love from his people, as people will try to avoid contact with him. Although Machiavelli avoids cruelty in leadership, being feared does not exhibit gentleness. The current politicians cannot afford to exhibit cruelty; a characteristic that a prince is advised not to worry about. People tend to be loyal to leaders who demonstrate clemency than those who depict vindictiveness.
Daft, R. L., & Lane, P. G. (2008). The leadership experience. Mason, OH: Thomson/South-Western.
Tedeschi, J. T. (2008). Social power and political influence. New Brunswick, N.J: AldineTransaction.