Applied Leadership

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What is leadership? How does people perceive leadership in their everyday Life? Can we still today, in a world oriented more an more towards individualism and commitment to achievement of personal goals, talk about leadership? Starting from with the question of what is making a person a good leader, I will analyse interviews to 5 people about leadership, then offer an excursus on selected papers about leadership and release, basing on those information the profile of a "good leader" .

STEP 1: What is a good leader?
If I would have been asked to define a good leader before attending this course, I would have probably said that a leader is a person which is able to passionate people, to empower them not for the position he/she is holding but for the inner force which enables him/he to go beyond every hierarchy. As Jim Pratt says, there are plenty of good managers , but only few leaders. How to understand if we are a good manager or a leader? Just answering to a simple question "Would people follow me, if I would not be in the position I am?". It is important to answer quite frankly to this question, not trying to overestimate our position. Leadership can be learnt but, if there a re no "seeds" , no basis on which to built, we can be a good manager but would hardly be a good leader. A good leader is, in my perception, a person who, like Jim Collins is shy and strong at the same time, which does live, as also Bernabè did, for the achievement of the company o the society he is operating for and not for the personal achievement. He is working for the general benefit, and not for the benefit of himself or just to achieve more money. Summing up I could say that a leader is a "human person" who has understood his weaknesses and his strengths, who has learned to show them, without hiding them, to use them in order to bring benefits while being part of a bigger project.

STEP 2 : Interviews
The interviews taken (transcripts are attached as appendix), it comes out that the leader is a "special" person, which does have to have some gifts, may they be acquired or learned. The common points which came up from the interviews were:

-a leader is accepted automatically and silently by his fellows, he does not oblige other people to consider him a leader; -a leader is not a leader in every field, but only in some specific environment; -a leader pursues a common goal, not the personal achievement -a leader is able to listen to people, not simply to hear what they are saying -a leader is able to motivate people

-a leader does have the capacity of taking decisions in bad times -a leader has to be a reference point to others
-a leader creates his successors, instructing them
-a leader is innovative, also visionary

Different leaders have been taken as example for the above given points: -Giovanni Agnelli, former FIAT CEO, who was able to bring FIAT to an International level; -Bill Gates, Microsoft CEO, visionary leader who has been able to anticipate technological innovation; -Hitler, dictator, taken as an example of unethical leader

-Pope John Paul II, Christian leader who has been able to be accepted worldwide as a very charismatic person -The tao monks, able to be "silent" leader, a great example of humility.

I have noticed that no one stressed the "ethical" aspect of a leader; as far as I could deduct this is not due to the fact that it may not be important if a leader acts ethically or not, it is rather assumed by the interviewed people that a leader has to be ethical and that there can not be an "unethical leader". Also Hitler, is his profession, had a kind of "ethical arian" principle.

STEP 3: Articles' review
Goffee, Robert-Jones, Gareth „Why should anyone be led by you?": This article focuses on "feelings applied to business". 1. Reveal your weaknesses; 2. Become a sensor; 3. Practice tough empathy ; 4. Dare to be different. We do not have...
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