What is Leadership?

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25 Jun 2019 07:30 #340017 by Proteus
Replied by Proteus on topic What is Leadership?
It certainly doesn't seem like such a simple recipe, what makes a leader. Perhaps consider the context which requires it, what kind of people are involved, what kind of subject matter it could be concerned with, and what culture(s) are at play.

However, there are at least two things that seem the most prevalent from my observations, at least philosophically.

Trust, and influence.

The tricky thing is, however, that because someone happens to be a leader doesn't seem to necessarily mean they got there through those two things. This is more a matter of a philosophy of genuineness of character. But then again, that still comes down to the variables listed in the first paragraph.

It seems that I know that I know.
What I would like to see is the 'I' that knows me when I know that I know that I know.
- Alan Watts

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25 Jun 2019 10:25 #340020 by ren
Replied by ren on topic What is Leadership?

Kelrax Lorcken wrote:

Rosalyn J wrote: When you say "sociopathy" what do you mean?


Wild stab in the dark: he's talking about dictators- both perceived and actual.

Odd to conflate the most memorable (negativity comes easy, it's part of learning to avoid bad things) with being the entirety, but, I'm guessing, anyway.


No. Dictators need not be sociopaths. Any career politician has to though. And maybe I should've said psychopath? These things aren't clearly defined.

Convictions are more dangerous foes of truth than lies.
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25 Jun 2019 21:42 #340028 by Omhu Cuspor
Replied by Omhu Cuspor on topic What is Leadership?
I recall studying a theory of managerial leadership in my old business school days.

At least then, one of the theories of business leaders was that they were either of type X or Y, each of which were given specific meanings. Type X leaders generally have lots of drive, vision, and a single-minded purpose, but not very good people skills. They tend to bark out orders and make demands, generally without explaining themselves or accepting any contrarian input from subordinates. They often motivate through fear or intimidation.

Type Y leaders, on the other hand, care deeply about process and people. They understand that the positive rewards that motivate people include not only money, but opportunities for creativity and a sense of accomplishment. They value the input of their subordinates, and endeavor to contribute to their employees' sense of self-esteem and their personal growth.

Most leaders are a blending of these two types, but in the extreme, Type X leaders excel at building up organizations from the ground up. When a business is in survival mode, their no-nonsense approach shoves aside all obstacles. However, they do not foster loyalty, and if their associates can find another avenue that supports their own physical needs, they'll often jump ship.

Type Y leaders do better at managing an established organization - one that has already built a sustainable infrastructure and is following a multiyear strategy rather than attempting to stay in operation till the end of the current month. Each type of leadership, the theory goes, has its place. Neither a type X nor a type Y leader can perform the job of the other very well.

In the 1980's, one author coined the term "Theory Z" for the Japanese style of management that relies more on consensus than the captaining of a single person, but to this day we still do not authentically apply that practice much in the West.

I do not think all leaders are sociopaths, but it is often the case with leaders of very large-scale competitive organizations. A psychologist whose name I've forgotten said not long ago that a common trait between psychopaths and sociopaths is a lack of empathy. The difference between those two categories is rooted in shame; a psychopath, if his actions and motives are revealed to the broader public, has no sense of shame. The sociopath on the other hand - though lacking empathy - at least does experience shame if his misdeeds are exposed. Probably any of us could easily identify multiple contemporary leaders whose actions display a lack of empathy. Whether they are psychopaths or sociopaths, they still have somehow become deficient in character.
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26 Jun 2019 11:22 #340032 by steamboat28
Replied by steamboat28 on topic What is Leadership?
Leadership is the ability to best know how to allocate and utilize resources--human and otherwise--including one's self. Sometimes that means being extra kind, and sometimes it means being harsh. Sometimes it means leading from the back, and sometimes from the front lines. It's contextual.
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26 Jun 2019 14:34 #340037 by ZealotX
Replied by ZealotX on topic What is Leadership?
A lot of people seem to be responding to "how to get other people to follow you" and that's perfectly fine. But I don't think a real leader necessarily looks to be followed at all. They are the first ones to go down the path. If others want to go down the same path then they will follow. But the leader has to either know where they're going or be the ones taking the risk for going into the unknown.

The leader creates a "path" or trail to follow. Other people see those footprints (whether in the sand or the mud), whether into danger or out of danger, and decide for themselves if that's a path for them. If they see the leader they may judge whether or not that person actually knows where they're going to see if they should keep following or not. But that act of following is always a choice.

Sometimes people want to be followed so much that they end up manipulating people, even lying to them, just to keep them walking behind. For what? If you only want to have people to lead then maybe you don't really care where you're going as long as people follow you? But then who is actually following who? Maybe everyone, at that point, is just walking around the desert in a circle.

imho, it is better to simply say "here's where I want to go" and let people decide if they want to come too and if they want to help you get there. If not then it will always be a question of who is serving who, who's doing what wrong, who's chasing who away, etc. etc. when if people could see the destination clearly those who were always going to stop following will do so sooner and fewer people will be suggesting alternative routes. When people don't have a clear destination you will always get the most complaints and people trying to lead from flanks and rear.
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26 Jun 2019 14:46 #340038 by ZealotX
Replied by ZealotX on topic What is Leadership?
In some ways... and let me try to say this carefully...

Trying to be a church is kind of a trap. It's unintentional. It's just that churches don't tend to go anywhere. They are baskets of people who simply share an intersection of beliefs. And those baskets tend to be porous and people tend to stand under and shake those baskets as billions of dollars fall out. Churches typically don't want to leave anyone behind. It's all "come as you are", etc.

Churches that have a clearer direction run the risk of being called cults. However even cults appeal to a lot of people (especially if no one uses the word cult) because they want that direction. They want a path. There are good reasons to be a church. No doubt. But there are also pitfalls and things to try to avoid at the same time. There's a good show on Hulu to watch called "The Path" (which is really about a cult) and it covers a lot of the hidden politics and things that naturally come with the territory while the "main body" of the church doesn't really see all that, just the kind of end product of what they're able to do working together.

People will always want different things but the real question is what do the leaders want and where do the leaders want to go. Read any business plan and you'll get that. Any business plan absent of that has no hope of getting funding.

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