Summary Leaders and the Leadership Process

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Judith Campbell’s
Chapter Summaries & Reflections of:
Leaders and the Leadership Process
By Jon L. Pierce and John W. Newstrom
Submitted for Clemson University’s I LEAD! Program
12-15-09
Prologue
“Perspectives on Leadership From Homer’s Odyssey”
By Fred A. Kramer (University of Massachusetts)
Summary
This article discusses the leadership roles demonstrated by two characters in Homer’s Odyssey. Mentor and Odysseus exhibited good leadership by demonstrating Warren Bennis’ four “competencies” that leaders must display. The four competencies are: management of attention through vision; management of meaning through communication; management of trust through reliability and constancy; and management of self through knowing one’s skills and deploying them effectively. Kramer discusses how the first three competencies are deeply related. A leader must have a vision and be able to communicate it to others. Not only this, they must be trustworthy and reliable. Kramer suggests the last competency, management of self, should supercede the others. In order for a leader to exhibit the first three competencies, he or she must have a strong sense of self-regard. Leaders should know their strengths and compensate for their weaknesses. According to Kramer, “the main lesson of the Odyssey is that each of us should undertake our own journeys into self awareness and self-understanding.” Reflection

I agree with the last point made by Kramer on how important it is for leaders to “undertake their own journeys into self awareness and self understanding.” In my experience, the leaders I have respected have all been very confident and self-assured individuals. Before they could communicate their vision, they had to know who they were and where they wanted to go in life. By having self-confidence, they were successful in building trust and communicating the meaning of their vision to others. Chapter 1

Reading 2
“On the Meaning of Leadership”
By Jon Pierce and John Newstrom (University of Minnesota Duluth) Summary
This article broadly covers the many different definitions and theories of leadership. There are scholars who believe leadership is a psychological phenomenon, that is, a leader is one who has specific personality and demographic traits. On the other hand, there are scholars who see leadership as a sociological phenomenon, meaning a leader is the outcome of a combination of people, groups, and the needs of a situation. The article then lists the several different approaches to define leadership from the book Bass & Stogdill’s Handbook of Leadership. The book defines leadership as “an interaction between two or more members of a group that often involves a structuring or restructuring of the situation and the perceptions and expectations of the members.” The article authors state that most students view it as “a sociological phenomenon (a process) involving the intentional exercise of influence exercised by one person over one or more other individuals, in an effort to guide activities toward the attainment of some mutual goal, a goal that requires interdependent action among members of the group.” The article also lists several additional conceptualizations and uses of the leadership concepts such as self-leadership, servant leadership, strategic leadership, and coleadership. The authors concluded by discussing the emerging leadership role that helps people attain self-leadership. It represents the transformation from the “follow me leader” to the leader who focuses on “leading other to lead themselves.”

Reflection
I thought the article did a good job of summarizing the many definitions of leadership. I agree that leadership takes many forms and that everyone can be a leader. The last bit of the article discussed the uses of leadership and talked about self-learship, coleadership, and servant leadership. I believe it’s important to first have self-leadership in order to be a good example for those one is trying to influence....
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