Leadership Without Easy Answers Part I Jailyn Hicks

What kinds of leadership are common today?

Value-Laden Leadership:

Involves self image and moral codes, denotes people and action of merit; ex. a "leader" for president

Value-Free Leadership

Person who is given formal and informal authority by others. Denotes people in authority/have a following; ex. Pablo Escobar

The contradiction clouds common understanding and shapes the quality of leadership we praise, teach, and get!

"Changing the definition of leadership we support, challenges people's conception of themselves, their roles, and most importantly their ideas of how social systems make progress on problems."

Imagine the difference in behavior when people operate on two different images of leadership.

The First Image

"Leadership means influencing the community to follow the leader's vision."

  • Influence=Leadership
  • leader gets people to accept vision
  • Communities address problems by looking to him/her
  • When something goes wrong, fault lies with the leader. Ex. Politics

The Second Image

"Leadership means influencing the community to face it's problems."

  • Progress on problems=leadership, leaders mobilize people to face problems
  • Communities address problems because leaders challenge/help them to

The second image is based upon, yet differs from culturally dominant views.

Two common denominators of all views: station and influence.

Hidden Values in Theories of Leadership

Great Man/ Trait Approach (Thomas Carlyle)

  • the first theory of leadership emerged in the 19th century
  • The increase of power is rooted in a "heroic" set of personal traits, skills, or physical characteristics
  • Encourages us to believe the individual makes a difference
  • Value placed on history maker/person with extraordinary influence

Situationalist View

  • Argued that history is much more than the effects of men
  • The times produce the person not the other way around
  • The times called men with various talents and leadership styles
  • leadership differs based on context

Contingent Theory

  • No single trait is associated w/ leadership
  • different situations demand different personalities and call for different behavior
  • the style of leadership is based upon the requirements of a situation
  • leadership=value, control

Transaction Approach

  • Leader influences followers and under the influence of followers
  • Earns influence by adjusting to the expectations of followers
  • The leader reaps the benefits of status and influence in exchange for reaching uncertainty providing followers w/ the basis for action

How does a leader handle problems? Does he exercise leadership with a fake remedy?

James Macgregor Burns suggested that socially useful goals have to meet the need of the followers and elevate followers to a higher moral value.

"People need the needs survival and security met first, then when these needs are met concerned with "higher" needs like affection, belonging, the common good, or serving others."

This book examines the usefulness of viewing leadership in terms of adaptive work.

"Adaptive work consists of the learning required to address conflicts in the values people hold, or to diminish the gap between the values people stand for and the reality they face."

Advantages of Viewing Leadership as Adaptive Work

  1. Points to the pivotal importance of reality testing in socially useful outcomes
  2. Allows us to evaluate leadership in process rather than wait until the outcome is clear.

But adapt to what, for what purpose?

In human societies, it consists of efforts to close the gap between reality and values not restricted by survival; involves not only the assessment of reality but also clarification of values.

Adaptive work requires both traditional values and the values represented those who recognize society's direct dependency on natural resources.

Leadership will not consist of answers or assured visions but of taking action to clarify values!

Achieving adaptive change probably requires sustained periods of disequilibrium.

Three Patterns of Disequilibrium

First Equilibrium Pattern

  • The current problem presents no new challenge and a response from the current regimen may restore equilibrium successfully.
  • The social system has learned a set of responses to meet the problem.

Second Equilibrium Pattern

  • The society has no ready solution for the problem and may try to still apply responses
  • Responses may only restore equilibrium for a shirt time and at the cost of long term consequences.

Third Disequilibrium Pattern

  • The society may learn to meet the new challenge

But why do people fail to adapt?

  1. Misperceiving the nature of the threat.
  2. May perceive the threat, but the challenge may exceed the culture's adaptive capability.
  3. The distress provoked by the problem and the changes it demands.
Created By
Jailyn Hicks

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