Read an ExcerptLeadership For All The Mountains You Climb
While Loving the View
By Mark W. Altman AuthorHouse
Copyright © 2008 Mark W. Altman, M.I.S.
All right reserved.
"The Map"- Definitions
As on any journey to unfamiliar territory, on our journey we will need a map. This will be a map of words and ideas intended to lay out a common vision of the landscape before us. This is particularly true given the confusion about the landscape of leadership resulting from the fog other leadership guides have generated, with tall tales about a land few of them have visited and fewer yet can describe.
On any map there is a symbol that looks like an arrow, usually pointing to the top of the map. This arrow points North. North is the cardinal direction that serves as the reference for the other directions and allows us to orient the map to the ground. On our figurative map we will use the definition of leadership as "North" and the other definitions will serve as landmarks on our map. Together these definitions will keep us from getting lost. A few of these definitions will be slightly technical and are intended to be fairly precise. Just as on a literal map, our definition and sense of figurative "North", will allow us to reference the rest of the map.
The first definition we need willdescribe and define our destination; Leadership. Dr. James MacGregor Burns' book Leadership, highlights the importance of the study of leadership, "One of the universal cravings of our time is a hunger for compelling and creative leadership". "The crisis of leadership today is the mediocrity or irresponsibility of so many of the men and women in power, but leadership rarely rises to the full need for it. The fundamental crisis underlying mediocrity is intellectual"
The first thing one notices when trying to define leadership is, "There are almost as many definitions for leadership as there are persons who have attempted to define the concept." Eugene Gallagher doubts whether leadership can be defined, "Although leadership cannot, like beauty or quality, be precisely defined, nevertheless, it can be known. We can, in relation to organizational behavior become aware of it, or of its absence".
While Dr. Ralph Stogdill's definition of leadership leaves out any reference to ethical or moral consideration when he says, "Leadership may be considered as the process (act) of influencing the activities of an organized group in its efforts toward goal setting and goal achievement", I believe that moral and ethical considerations of leadership are paramount. After all, how many of us hope to "lead" in the same way that Hitler, Stalin, or the executives of Enron or WorldCom did?
According to several leadership scholars, leadership is possible even if that leadership is for evil purposes such as Bass' description of transformational leadership through coercion. Referring to Hitler, "... Germany was still transformed, although the leadership itself was immoral, brutal, and extremely costly in life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness to his victims, and in the long run, to his 'Master Race'". More modern examples come from business such as the Enron, Tyco and WorldCom scandals. For the purpose of this book, any example such as the previous would not be considered leadership on two counts.
The first is due to the coercive nature of the methods used. Hitler used lies, deceit and violence to wield power over a nation, intimidate a continent and threaten the world by military force. The Enron, Tyco and WorldCom scandals were neither as widespread nor violent, but used lies and deceit and were just as cancerous in their own way; taking life savings and destroying lives. In accordance with the definition of power wielding provided below, these historical examples are clearly power wielding at their brutal worst, not leadership.
Even if this behavior is considered leadership by some scholars, the purpose of this book is to forward uplifting, positive, leadership for the betterment of all; not to help develop the power base of a destructive, select few. I find there to be marginal value at best in studying power wielders, because over time they are almost never successful. This is especially true if we determine success by the standards the power wielder themselves set. Again, the examples throughout history from the despotic Roman Emperors, to Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Enron, World Com, and Tyco demonstrate the fleeting success of power wielding. But the power wielders themselves set the standard for success and believed they would achieve long lasting power and influence. Virtually none of them were able to do so.
For the purposes of this book, leadership is defined as the ability to influence and guide others to a moral and ethical purpose they would not have otherwise undertaken on their own. This definition is taken in large part from Dr. James MacGregor Burns' landmark book Leadership in which he maintains "Leadership over human beings is exercised when persons with certain motives and purposes mobilize, in competition or conflict with others, institutional, political, psychological and other resources so as to arouse, engage, and satisfy the motives of followers". He goes on to specifically point out "This is done in order to realize goals mutually held by both leaders and followers"
Not to beat a dead horse, but I believe most of us wish to be moral and ethical people in our personal and business dealings. For those whom only wish to bring money, power or fame unto themselves, this book is not for you.
In my mind leadership is composed of four distinct, complementary and somewhat opposed aspects. Most important, most misunderstood and largely ignored of the aspects is love, specifically philial love, the discussion of which will take a sizeable portion of this book. The next most important aspect of leadership is vision, without which the organization has nowhere to go and nothing to do once it arrives. The third aspect is power wielding. Power is exhibited in all relationships; there may be no place this is more obvious than in leadership relationships. Learning to wield power effectively and with love and compassion is essential to good leadership. Last, but certainly of great importance are management skills. The ability to manage resources, time, challenges and opportunities is necessary when guiding an organization to its goals.
The next landmark on our map is that of management. Management is a necessary part of leadership. Trying to lead without management skills is a lot like trying to drive a car without the pedals or steering wheel. Much as your insurance company (and the rest of us on the road) appreciate you driving using the control mechanisms in your car, the organizations you lead will greatly appreciate your constant improvement in your management skills.
Management has been a topic of discussion and study at least since Xenophon provided us with a conversation between Socrates and Nicomachides,
"Do not therefore, Nichomachides, despise men skillful in managing a household; for the conduct of private affairs differs from that of public concerns only in magnitude; in other respects they are similar; but what is most to be observed, is, that neither of them are managed without men, and that private matters are not managed by one species of men, and public matters by another; for those who conduct public business make use of men not at all differing in nature from those whom the managers of private affairs employ; and those who know how to employ them conduct either public or private affairs judiciously, while those who do not know will err in the management of both".
Keep the above conversation in mind when we get to Chapter Seven as I am going to show you how leadership is the same in every arena of your life. Leadership in your family is the same as leadership in your job, is the same as leadership in your church and civic organizations. You may not believe me now, but keep an open mind until we get that far and I will explain what I mean.
In more modern times, Bennis and Nanus define management in the following statements "'To manage' means 'to bring about, to accomplish, to have charge of or responsibility for, to conduct'". They go on to say "Managers are people who do things right and leaders are people who do the right thing". Managers are typically in charge of "things" while leaders are in charge of people.
John P. Kotter takes a more organizational view of management, "Good management brings a degree of order and consistency to key dimensions like the quality and profitability of products". Kathleen Sanford tells us more when she defines management with the following statement: "Management is defined as a discipline that can be learned in how-to classes: how to interview, how to delegate, how to write a budget, how to do a flow chart, how to evaluate people and products."
However, please keep in mind that management is not leadership. Management is a part of leadership, leadership is not a part of management and as such, you can be a manager without being a leader, but you would find it very difficult indeed to be a leader without some skill as a manager.
Power wielding is the next point on our map we need to discuss. Power wielding is first and foremost "a relationship among persons"; that is, "part of a system of social causation" and "it involves the intention or purpose of both power holder and power recipient". Simply stated, power wielding is a relationship in which the power holder has the ability to provide something (money, a job, affection, relief of pain or death, etc.) the power recipient wants or needs and this relationship is multiplied across society in a web of interactions up and down the societal ladder.
Power can be broken down into three dimensions: distribution, domain and scope. Distribution describes "the concentration and dispersion of power among persons of diverse influence in various political, social and economic locations." For example, a politically active movie star could enjoy tremendous power in the entertainment industry, a moderate amount in the business world as it relates to the amount of money they may have invested, and a smaller amount of power in the political arena due to the perceived influence over the people they entertain.
Domain refers to "the number and nature of power respondents influenced by power wielders compared to those who are not." The aforementioned movie star could well have a tremendous amount of social power with teenagers, but little sway with influential adults. An example would be Elvis Presley; while he influenced the hairstyle of millions of young Americans, he did not have the power to, nor as far as I know did he attempt, to change national foreign policy.
Scope describes "the extent to which power is generalized over a wide range or is specialized." Elvis' power was largely relegated to cultural power, although many modern entertainers are attempting to expand their cultural power into political power as well, such as actors Tim Robbins and wife Susan Sarandon. The scope, or apparently desired scope, of Tim Robbins and his wife are very different than Elvis' apparently desired scope.
In order for an act or substance to be a power resource (and therefore wielded), it must first be "relevant to the motivations of the power recipients." Dr. Burns also pointed out how power is actually realized,
"Power over other persons ... is exercised when potential power wielders, motivated to achieve certain goals of their own, marshal in their power base resources (economic, military, institutional, or skill) that enable them to influence the behavior of respondents by activating motives of respondents relevant to those resources and to those goals. This is done in order to realize the purposes of the power wielders, whether or not these are also the goals of the respondents."
There are many sources of power, such as formal position, physical strength, education, rhetorical skill, expertise in a subject, age, financial resources, etc. Any one of these things and many, many others can serve as a power base if the power wielder is skillful in amassing power. The aspect that most separates power wielding from leadership is the fact that power wielding doesn't take the respondents' goals into account.
While Chapter 4 will discuss power more completely, let us just say for now that power wielding, like management, is a very necessary part of leadership; however, it is not the same thing as leadership. You must wield power as a leader; however, just because you wield power does not by any stretch, mean you are a leader.
The next landmark we need to get a bearing on is that of love. Love can be a difficult subject because so much of who and what we are as humans centers on our ideas of, and our search for, love. Almost every poem, song, story, play and movie ever written has love as a subject if not its central theme.
I will talk about three of the most common kinds of love in an attempt to drill down to the exact feeling I want to reference. The Greeks had over 60 definitions for the word love, most of them describing a different type of affection such as, "I love God", "God loves me", "I love my wife", "I love my friend"; and my personal favorite, "I love ice cream"!
Eros The first type of love we need to talk about is the easiest to define and describe; the love known as Eros or erotic love. Because in our society this kind of love has no place in any leadership setting and because almost every adult knows the kind of love I refer to here, we will move on except to say, this of course is the sexual love we see (perhaps too much of) in books, on TV and in movies. Agape The next type of love is the love all of the others derived from, that of agape love. In religion, Christianity in particular, Agape love is generally defined as "The attitude of God toward his Son, the human race, and to believers on the Lord Jesus Christ particularly." So God's love for us, our love for God and one Christian's love for another Christian are all included in this manifestation of love. However, Agape love shows a secular side as well, "The Greek's third and highest form of love ... love which seeks nothing in return." Similarly, the word can also be defined more generally as an "Unselfish love of all persons." As Julia Judish writes, "Agape provides an ethic of universal equal regard, a love of all neighbors, regardless of merit, reciprocity, or specific attributes." The concept of equal regard is the central idea that separates philial love from agape. When you show compassion and love for someone you don't know you are exhibiting agape love. Stopping on the side of the road to help an elderly person or a pregnant woman change a tire is demonstrating agape love. Walter Bauer's work which was translated and adapted by William Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, adds the aspect of the "love feast" to the definition. The love feast is "a common meal eaten by early Christians in connection with their church services, for the purpose of fostering and expressing brotherly love." The taking of communion is the common expression of this tradition, although a church covered dish supper might well be another. This aspect of the definition does not have an application to the question of leadership and is only included to round out the nuance of the word. Philial The last love we will talk about is a special kind of love; philial ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) love. The city of Philadelphia, the "city of brotherly love" derives its name from this Greek word. The word "philial" has fallen out of our common vernacular; however the emotion itself has not. The Koine Greek language or "the common language" defines philial love as "friendship, love" while The New Strong's Expanded Dictionary of Bible Words expands on this definition to include "To be a friend to", to be "fond of" or to "have affection for denoting personal attachment, as a matter of sentiment or feeling." So the kind of affection I mean here is that of very good friends, not mere acquaintances and would include two long time neighbors, two Army buddies, high school classmates or coworkers. The concept of having affection for others, friends, and personal attachments are ageless concepts that very few humans will go a lifetime without experiencing first hand. "The Pythagoreans are said to have called philia the bond of all virtues", but the New Testament shows "the commoner [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] denoted the affection of a friend or kinsman". This idea that philial love is the bond of the other virtues deserves further scrutiny.
Excerpted from Leadership For All The Mountains You Climb by Mark W. Altman Copyright © 2008 by Mark W. Altman, M.I.S.. Excerpted by permission.
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