Leadership: The Power of Influence
Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “A genuine leader is not a searcher of consensus, but a molder of consensus” (Examples from Our Leaders). Over the years, leaders have used their power to force their goals by explaining their motives without seeking general agreement. However, there have been many instances in which leaders have exploited their people in order to complete their personal agendas. The privilege of power has frequently been used to manipulate the common people in order to benefit the leader’s goals or intentions.
The use of common people as a median for personal gain is present in the tragedy of Julius Caesar. During one of his speeches, Brutus tries to explain his motive for the assassination of Caesar: “If then that friend demanded why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer: Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more…Had you rather Caesar were living, and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all free men?” (Shakespeare 3.2.20-24). Brutus acknowledges that he must influence the people in order to justify his cause for regicide, being that the death of Caesar is better than the commoners turning into slaves under his rule. Given the circumstances, however, Brutus’ primary motive was not to persuade the people into thinking that his decision was best for Rome; in actuality, Brutus truly induced the
people so that they would spare his life. After Brutus’ speech, Antony attempts to contradict him through a speech of his own: “He hath brought many captives home to Rome, whose ransoms did the general coffers fill; did this in Caesar seem ambitious?” (Shakespeare 3.2.89-91). After his speech, he then makes it apparent that he is guilty of manipulation: “…Now let it work: mischief, thou art afoot!” (Shakespeare 3.2.261). Because Antony ingenuously calls attention to Brutus’ flaw in judgment, he is able to hide what he truly desires, which is to provoke anger and revenge among...