Leadership Without Easy Answers by: Shakyra Davis

Chapter 1: Values In Leadership

Influence is the mark of leadership: a leader gets people to accept his vision, and communities address problems by looking to him.

Influence is one of the main components of leadership.

The second image of leadership-mobilizing people to tackle tough problems--- is the image at the heart of this book. Leadership generally refers to the exercise of influence: the leader stands out in front-- usually in high office-- influencing others. Leadership is equated with prominence and dominance. Two common denominators of the various views of leadership are station and influence.

Section 1: Hidden Values In Theories of Leadership

  1. The first theory of leadership emerged from the nineteenth century notion that history is the story of great men an their impact on society.
  2. In contrast, situationalists argue that history is much more than the effects of the these men in their time. They suggest that the times produced the person not the other way around. Thus, "What an individual actually does when acting as a leader is in large part depenent upon characteristics of the situation in which he functions."

The contingency theory which was brung upon by the situationalists, examines the appropriate style of leadership which is contengent on the requirements of the particular situation.

Section 2: Toward A Prescriptive Concept of Leadership

  1. It is more useful to define leadership as an activity. This allows for leadership from multiple positions in a social structure.
  2. In selecting adaptive work as a guide, one considers not only the values that the goals represents, but also the goal's ability to mobilize people face to face, rather than avoid, tough realities and conflicts. Influence and authority are primary factors in doing adaptive work.

Chapter 2 : To Lead Or Mislead?

Section 1: Adaptive Work

Species change as the genetic program changes; cultures change by learning.Evolution has bo "purpose" ----survival is our only measure of its success; societies generate purposes beyond survival.

In human societies, adaptive work consists of efforts to close the gap between reality and a host of values not restricted to survival.

Adaptive work involves conflict. We only adapt in societies when factors become relevant to us, when they challenge our values of health and survival. By then, the damage has been done and the adjustment is needed quickly. The ability to adapt requires the productive interaction of different values through which each member in a society sees reality and its challenges.

Section 2: Disequilibrium Dynamics

Generally, Equilibrium means stability in which the levels of stress with the political, social, and economic areas of society are not increasing.

Achieving adaptive change probably requires sustained periods of disequlilibrium. People fail to adapt because they may misperceive the nature of the threat. In other cases, the society may perceive the threa, but the challenge may exceed the culture's adaptive capability. Finally, people fail to adapt because of the distress provoked by the problem and the changes it demands.

Those patterns of response to disequlilbrium are called work avoidence mechanisms.

Reality testing---the effort to grasp the problem fully- is often an early victim of disequilibrium.

Chapter 3: The Roots of Authority

Because we so commonly equate leadersgip with authority, we fail to see the obstacles to leadership that come with authority itself.

Section 1: The Functions of Dominance In Primate Societies

Dominant animals take a prominent stance in societies. By providing a central focus of attention, the dominant animals often serve as reference points by which the rest of the band orient themselves. An example of this would be mountain gorillas in Africa.

The gorilla society is centered around one adult male, the silverback.

The silverback provides the group with an obvious focal point of attention, situated often at its center.

The silverback also serves a control function, mediating agression within the group and maintaining stability.

Section 2: Human Societies

  1. In human standards, the hierarchies in primate societies involve small groups.
  2. Human societies may not coordinate themselves by the same mechanisms that other animal societies use like betweeen chimpanzeee and gorilla societies.
  3. The misuse of Darwin's theory confuse biological potentiality with biological determinism.

Section 3: Dominance in Children

A study of preschool children in Virginia showed that the children tended to orient themselves spatially by locating those in their own rank and by staying in close proximity to them.

Orientation by perceptions of dominance provided part of the glue thst held the group together. Attention is focused upward in the hierarchy.

Section 4: Small Adult Groups

Authority provides orientation, which in turn diminishes stress and provides a hub of cohesive bonding as each member develops some time with the chairsperson. Authority provides direction. There may be psychological mechanisms for the dynamics of authority which may be looking for the chairsperson to solve the problem. When members know to whom to turn, they feel calmed. As long as the person in authority can provide the services that keep the group composed , her authority will increase.

Section 5: From Dominance To Authority

Tha author defines authority as conferred power to perform a service.

  1. Authority is given and can be taken away.
  2. Authority is conferred as part of an exchange.

Dominance relationships are based on coercion or habitual deference; authority relationships are voluntary and conscious. Defrence over time may become authorization, even without deliberate decision.

Section 6: Authority and Culture

Beyond the capacity for authority and dominance, human evolution reached another major milestone with the development of the mental ability to internalize representations of authority as conscience.

As humans, we do not have to keep authority figures in our actua; line of sight. We develop the psychilogical capacity to observe the internal counterpoint among these voices in any goven problem situation and to choose which voices to heed and which to ignore.

Section 7: Stress and Charismatic Authority

In Max Weber's terms, both the traditional and bureaucratic forms of authority suffice in helping to hold the community together and solve routine problems.

When the stress is severe. we seem especially willing to grant extraordinary power and give away our freedom.

In a study of thirty-five dictatorships, all of them emerged duting times of social distress,We invest in them not only various formal powers with which to meet our needs but our personal trust that they can deliver. We attribute charisma to people who voice our pains and provie us with promise.

Instead of generating creativity and responsibility, charismatic authority can generate a mindless following or devolve into bureaucratic institutions that rely on central planning and control.

Created By
Shakyra Davis


Created with images by Becker1999 - "Silverback"

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