Jerry Falwell is not only someone whose influence extends to the students in the academe and the members of the congregation he leads. He is one person whose work itself attests to the fact that when it comes to doing everything with excellent output no matter what tasks he takes on, he succeeded. He had been in the public eye due to his tireless efforts and initiative in addressing various problems that spring from a divided America and that which also had its impact beyond its borders.
But it all started with the church he pioneered and the school he founded: Liberty University. Charismatic Characteristics Using the leadership types or models as frame of reference, several traits that are categorized under the charismatic type are easily attributable to Falwell. This great individual exhibited most, if not all of the characteristics which could be found with someone who has what was termed as charismatic personality type of leadership, which include firstly, charm and grace.
These are primary characteristics of charismatic type of leadership. Secondly, Falwell as a leader has the ability to command respect because he has immense self-belief that he can accomplish a lot for those who are still discovering what life is all about, namely the youth. Thirdly, he had been influential as a leader in his time. He was able to draw people from the upper echelon of society to support in many aspects of the program he believes in.
People, both within the volunteer and paid staff, the students themselves and his supporters, respect, abide by and pursue this leader’s vision and plans because they could see firsthand his transparency and therefore personally admire and highly regard him for his honest manner of dealings with the staff. This kind of admiration is what is termed “intense attraction” to a leader due to his/her ability to command respect, and conduct self with such composure yet in verve and energy (“Charismatic Leadership, 2007).
When they would hold meetings, and when Falwell speaks to people, he seems to see everyone in the room, and thus convey his message at a level of “closeness. ” The leader picks at the moods and behavior of the moment and then tailors what he is going to do next based on those spontaneous observations. The leader employs different methods or strategies to get the attention of his followers, and is therefore very persuasive and very effective in using gestures and body language (“Charismatic Leadership, 2007). When this person leads his team, he tries to create a distinction about his group in contrast with that of others.
He builds the uniqueness of the group in the eyes of members and makes efforts to solidify the group’s adherence to the leader but the members expect as well of their leader’s loyalty towards them. He exhibits leadership skills coupled with a positive outlook and is other –oriented which results to changes for the good of the team usually (“Charismatic Leadership, 2007). One example of Falwell’s visionary quality could be seen in his founding of the University’s Athletics Department. He believed that athletics and music were the two ways that he could use to speak to young people in any generation.
And so, in 1971, after meeting with the students, he began to quickly implement programs that would facilitate field athletics (Liberty University, 2009). The following year (1972), the University’s Men’s Basketball Team competed vigorously during that year’s first season and was able to register a 7-1 record. From then on, the Athletics Department of Liberty University expanded resulting in the creation of the University’s Football Team in 1973. In the following years, the University’s athletics had a steady growth; it flourished till it grew to become in 1988 a full-fledged member of NCAA Division I. Today, Liberty University’s athletes compete in inter-collegiate competition every season at the highest level.
Dr. Falwell’s vision was fulfilled. Conclusion: Understanding Leadership Theories in Application There are many theories regarding effective leadership. Among the leadership theories which are most applicable is a combination of the path-goal theory and the charismatic type. Many of the contemporary leadership theories have emerged in the last fifty years which were developed from corresponding emerging complex organizations.