Dr. Bret Bradley
Sande Jarrett Chase Miller
MGT-3133-001 - Leadership
February 14, 2012
Pablo Escobar was the charismatic, ruthless leader of the Medellin drug cartel in Columbia during the 1970s and 80s (Kelly, 2005, p. 118). He possessed charisma, intelligence, and an idealized status in the eyes of his followers like a transformational leader (Minster, 2012), but he showed criminal tendencies from a young age (A&E, 2012) and displayed the poor morals and selfish manipulation of others that characterize a pseudo-transformational leader. While Escobar did have some degree of idealized…show more content… A true transformational leader is able to communicate this strategy and motivate followers to accomplish it. Despite his involvement in crime and violence, Pablo Escobar considered himself a protector of the people of his adopted city of Medellin (Thompson, 1996, p.56). He has been described as a “Robin Hood” figure for his building of churches, houses, and soccer fields for the locals, and this perception increased his popularity (A&E, 2012). Pablo Escobar displayed inspirational motivation to many followers by connecting with them and acting as a symbol of hope, but he failed to articulate concrete, common goals or provides a clear way for followers to build on his example of hope for the poor.
Escobar also tried to gain influence over Columbian politics in the same manner that he ran his criminal empire: through fear, coercion, violence, and bribery, which claimed the innocent lives of an untold number of people that ultimately turned public opinion against him (A&E, 2012). This shows that while the public may have seemed initially motivated by Escobar’s inspirational leadership, there was no true inspirational motivation at work. Escobar was merely skilled at manipulating public perception of his leadership.
The nature of drug trafficking caused Escobar to tightly control his followers’ operations and actually discourage intellectual stimulation and independent thinking. As Northouse states, power orientation and