How Can We Train Leaders If We Dont Know What Leadership Is?

Topics: Leadership, Sociology, Morality Pages: 9 (2421 words) Published: October 25, 2011
Article: How can we train leaders if we do not know what leadership is? - Barker

-problem: Leadership is usually not defined, there are multiple definitions (skill, ability, role, action,etc…), the focus on the leader rather than upon the process of leadership -new revolutionary paradigm: transforming leadership

-definition leadership: leadership is the reciprocal process of mobilizing, by persons with certain motives and values, various economic, political and other resources in a context of competition and conflict in order to realize goals independently or mutually held by both leaders and followers -key points:

oleaders admonition that the nature of the goals is crucial,oriented toward an end value oprocess is reciprocal and it happens within a context of competition and conflict -other points.
oLeadership focuses on the knowledge, skills, abilities and traits of the leader whoch are presumed to be the most successful in getting followers to do wha the leader wants them to do -Since this proposition it has been reduced to slogans, equated with economic success and manipulating people, associated with authority and know we know little if anything more about this topic -Almost every definition of leadership if in school or from practitioners, focuses on the most important knowledges, skills, abilities, and traits of the leader which are most successful in getting followers to do what he wants -Many writers don’t even define leadership, they rely completely upon a very old paradigm of leadership that is beginning to conflict with the realities of the modern world -Very old paradigm of leadership is beginning to conflict with the realities of the modern world

The social construct of leadership

-Rost found out that the word leadership is defined in contradictory ways and that everything the definitions of leaderships are confusing. The reason for this is that old ideas are used to describe new phenomena.

-feudal paradigm: construct of governance and social structure: oa powerful male atop a hierarchical structure directing and controlling activities towards the achievement of the leaders goals oeffective in organizations with hierarchical structures (military) -feudal view of leadership became permanent fact upon whch industrial leadership theories are supposed to be built •The term leadership is defined ostensively while pointing to someone who occupies a high position. The problem is that the old paradigm focuses too much on the leader rather than on the process of leadership -

-industrial leadership: transformational, transactional, charismatic, variation of the form “ man at the top” omgmt. trends indicate that successful organizations don’t have hierarchical structures at traditional sense, but circular and linear structures oIT instead of personal contact

oTransforming leadership as relationship
oLeadership as skill or abilitiy: Transformational leaders encourage charismatically led followers to develop their skills so that they might demonstrate initiative in working for leaders goals -Democratic leadership: leaders can help to develop followers emotional maturity and moral reasoning abilities

1.) Leadership as an abilitiy

-Almost all articles focus on leader abilities, traits, or behaviors. Transformational leadership is advocated as an effective method for manipulating followers into doing what the leader wants them to do. -So this view is not consistent with Burns’ definition of transforming leadership as a relationship, but is consistent with the view of leadership as a skill or an ability. -focusing on leaders abilities and traits serves two important social functions: ohope for salvation

oblame for failure
-problem of translation into real life is based in the gap between simplistic ways and steps and the complexities of social and organizational processes

2.) management as an ability

-ability of leader = ability of leaders to manage
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