Leadership Without Easy Answers Part I By: sOLOMON LUcy

Chapter 1: Values in Leadership

Overall Summary

  • Leadership is very important to us and we value those who hold leadership positions
  • We are always seeking out the leader in things (organizations, groups, etc.)
  • We use the term "leader" with too much liniency
  • Now leading only means being out in front

The Types of Leaders

Type 1 is the leader that influences the community to follow the leader's vision. In this style the community depends solely on the leader because they are following his or her vision. If something goes wrong it is the leader's fault.

Type 2 is the leader that influences the community to face its problems. In this style both the leader and community are working together in order to fix those problems. If something goes wrong the leader and the community are to blame.

The second type of leadership is the best but we often use the first kind today.

How Can We Improve The Leadership Today?

  • Realize there's a difference between leadership and management
  • Realize not all leaders have the same traits. Their traits should align with the times we're in. We need different types of leaders for different situations.
  • Remember the word leadership should be more of a verb rather than a noun. Your actions show if you are a leader, not your personality traits.
  • Leaders should always have goal
  • Remember that if you are a leader you may sometimes have to improvise but that's okay. Franklin Roosevelt said "It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something."

Chapter 2: To Lead or Mislead?

Evolution vs Equilibrium

  • In order for evolution to take place trials and errors must occur
  • Humans are better at handling evolution because we have the capability to learn from our mistakes and create better situations. Species change genetically but cultures change through learning and planning.
  • Society is focused on always maintaining its equilibrium which is not good because you have to go through stages of equilibrium in order to evolve.
  • How a person/leaded acts during times of disequilibrium tests their leadership.

3 Forms of Patterns of Disequilibrium

  1. The current problem presents no new challenge and a response from the current repertoire may restore equilibrium successfully
  2. When the society had no ready solution for the situation, the social system may still try to apply responses from its repertoire, but may only restore equilibrium in the short term and at the cost of long-term consequences
  3. The society may learn to meet the new challenge

Why Do People Fail to Adapt?

  • They mispercieve the nature of the threat
  • Society may perceive the threat, but the challenge may exceed the culture's adaptive capability
  • The amount of distress provoked by the problem and the changes it demands

Chapter 3: The Roots of Authority


This chapter describes how leadership and authority intertwine

Both Humans & Animals Have The Ability To Show Authority

  • For gorillas the silverback is their leader and he is always protecting the gorillas and serves a control function
  • For chimpanzees the female and her offspring usually are the most constant social unit. Adult males travel in varying groups and have their own hierarchy.

Leadership Is Something Sought Out By Everyone

  • A study of pre-school kids revealed that most kids fought to be labeled "high-ranking" and the "high-ranking" kids were respected and admired and took charge during group activities.

In A Study Of Small Adult Groups 3 Generalizations Emerged

  1. When men and women who do not know one another form a new group and undertake a task, they routinely establish a hierarchy of roles
  2. The group often informally selects and authorizes one of its own members to chair the group in place of the person designated by the scientist in charge
  3. The group looks to its chairperson for certain services.


Heifetz, Ronald A. Leadership Without Easy Answers. Cambridge, Mass. [u.a.]: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2001. Print.

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