Leadership and People

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  • Topic: Leadership, Community development, Community organizing
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Promoting Servant Leadership in the Youth
Defining Leading and Leadership

Leading is defined as:

1. Influencing others to take action toward specific goal.

2. Guiding and directing on a course, and as serving as a channel. A leader is someone who has commanding influence.

Leadership is defined as:

1. It is the process of influencing and directing activities of members toward goal accomplishment.

2. It is about ordinary people who care. People who care enough to get extra ordinary things done.

3. It is the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspire confidence.

4. It is simply not an art (emotional/instinctual) or a science (rational/acquired). It is a blend of the rational and emotional, the innate and acquired, the ideal and practical.

(Source: Peter Northouse, Leadership Theory and Practice, 2001)

Lecture 6 - Leadership Styles

Let us compare leadership styles. We can do this best by contrasting two opposite styles of leadership: the authoritarian and the democratic (or participate) style.

1. The Authoritarian Style shows certain characteristics and we can sum them up by saying that leaders falling under this category:

• are generally strong-willed, domineering, and to some extent, aggressive.

• must have their own way, which for them, seems the only way.

• look upon subordinates more as functionaries than as persons, and the best subordinates, in their estimation, follow directions without question.

• ordinarily are not ready to listen to views and suggestions of others (although they may pretend to), if they offer different opinions.

• not encourage equal relationships (i.e. adult to adult with underlings. As a rule, they do not allow themselves to get close to employees. They do not like to see employees get close to one another, for such cliques, as authoritarian leaders perceive them, might endanger their authority.

• have business-like and task-oriented attitudes. The job comes first.

• generally blame poor results on the inability of others to carry out instructions correctly.

The following self-talk describes the attitudes of authoritarian leaders:

I know best what is to be done here. After all, I am better trained, more experienced, and better informed on the matter than anyone else here. The others in the group expect as much of me. This is after all, my job as their leader. Because I cannot do everything myself, I need their help, not their ideas and plans, to implement what needs to be done. I can take care of the thinking, and I do more than my share of the doing too, but I shall need their help here. I suppose I’ll have to listen to them. These days, they expect that much of me. But I don’t expect to hear anything new. I’m quite confident that we will end up doing it my way. Of course, I’ll handle the proceedings during the meeting and I’ll manage to control the pace of things as well. After all, the agenda is mine and I’ve thought each point through already. I’ll also dispose of any disputes that may arise, since the task is the thing that counts, and we can’t be held up by any petty personal squabbles. That would be a sheer waste of time. Better that we all keep our feelings to ourselves anyway.

As a member of this leader’s group, one might see things this way, whether one likes it or not:

The leader is the real spokesman of the group. He usually does most of the talking and all of the actual planning and only wants our approval and cooperation. In fact, his credentials are good. He does have more experience and competence than I have and he seems to have our best interests at heart. During the meetings, he doesn’t like to waste any time. While he’s not a very personable man, he’s always ready to help any of us, whatever the hour and however serious the problem.

In one way, I’m happy...
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