People would always have some form of organization. Whether those groups are formal or non-formal, they would have led. The way they manage the affairs of the organized units determines the kind of leadership they embrace. According to the articles, there is a need to adopt the new type of leadership practice. The new style prefers consultation whereby even followers take part in the leadership decisions.
In the first article, the writer introduces an alternative paradigm to leadership called the leaderful practice (Raelin, 2003). The writer seeks to bring out leadership in everyone by incorporating all stakeholders in decision-making.
The tenets of leaderful practice in chapter one challenge the conventional view of leadership. It explains what leaderful practice is and how it compares with the ordinary and socially acceptable type of leadership (Raelin, 2003). People living in the twenty-first century need to adopt a more collaborative kind of leadership that does not only support consultation but also allows everyone’s participation. Concurrent is one of the tenets in the article (Raelin, 2003). It means that the position leader can agree to share power and authority with another person and or other people at the same time. When leaders willingly and naturally share power with others, they increase that power (Raelin, 2003).
The idea differs from the current form of leadership where only one person takes charge of the affairs of the organization. He or she also takes credit for the success of his or her initiative. It supports the idea that even a junior member of the immediate second in command can influence leadership without causing anxiety and internal wrangles in the group. Another aspect is being collective. The group should not trust that it is only the position leaders who can action or make decisions on behalf of everyone (Raelin, 2003). All the people can participate in every endeavor the group plans to undertake. One person may come up with an idea while others support it as though it is everyone’s initiative. It is also collaborative, where all members, including the position leader, can speak for the entire organization. They consider their views to be equally important. Compassion is another tenet of the practice. It means that there is a mutual concern for others. Everyone’s opinion is valuable and that everyone has equal rights.
Chapter seven describes collective leadership. People in varying roles can come together and engage in leaderful practice. They practice their activities together and collectively make decisions. They provide leadership without contradicting each other (Raelin, 2003).
Chapter two puts forward an argument that showcases conventional leadership and its weaknesses. The current style centralizes authority in one individual, and this renders the leadership style unsuitable for the current generation. Traditional principles allow the hierarchy to dominate the leadership process (Raelin, 2003).
Leadership without easy answers provides another angle by describing leadership as a collective bargaining tool (Heifetz, 1998). The conventional leadership style has existed for a long time yet people still have unresolved problems with the economy, social life, and political stability. Leadership failures are leading the world away from the desired vision. Once this happens, people tend to do away with the leaders and choose other favorable leaders to fulfill their desired vision. Sometimes the problems may just arise from the system in operation and not the leaders. Ronald Heifetz was a surgeon and a psychiatrist. But his influential career came from his work as the director of the Leadership Education Project at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (Heifetz, 1998). He carried out dozens of research among managers, politicians, and many other position leaders in different realms of work. His findings provided a clear framework for leaders with positions and without the position (Hammer, 2012).
There are two important distinctions between technical and adaptive problems, and between leadership and authority (Heifetz, 1998). Leadership, according to Heifetz, is an activity, not a position of influence. He argues that it is not good to ascertain that leaders are born and not made. It discourages the people who do not see themselves as leaders to become dormant. It can also lead to irresponsibility in those who think they are leaders by birth (Heifetz, 1998).
Traditional management theories fundamentally deal with technical problems but do not provide concrete solutions for values and beliefs (Hargreaves & Fink, 2006). A leader needs to be able to solve the adaptive challenges that involve disparities between circumstances and values (Heifetz, 1998). Leadership revolves around redefining and clarifying values. It means taking action for the common good of everyone. The actions that a leader takes to fall into five categories. A leader must diagnose the situation. The second one involves containing the level of distress. One needs to identify the issues that attract the most attention and counter-avoidance mechanisms. The fourth one is to allow people to own up to the problems and know how they can handle themselves (Hargreaves & Fink, 2006). The leader needs to protect those who have differing opinions.
The writer goes on to explain that there is leadership without authority that rises to challenge the conventional mechanisms available. There is a myriad of examples of such kind of opposition that includes Martin Luther King Junior, Nelson Mandela, and Mahatma Gandhi. They were not in power, yet they identified some adaptive challenges that they used to create defiance among people to claim their rights (Heifetz, 1998). The leaders who are in authority must identify with the problems of the groups they lead and find amicable solutions. They need to work together to avoid the issues from escalating and creating more serious problems. The leaders with authority and those without authority need to work together because that is how they can provide the best solutions.
The article about Leadership for the twenty-first Century critiques the concept of leadership in the last 75 years (Rost, 1993). The preindustrial and industrial eras provided the kind of leadership that was strictly mechanical and managerial. The study leads Rost to provide a paradigm shift in leadership to the postindustrial era (Rost, 1993). He contends with learning institutions for mixing up the roles and requirements of leadership with management. The studies on leadership teach management lessons. The learning systems need to transform and distinguish between leadership and administration. The twenty-first-century leadership must influence relationships across the board to reflect the mutual purposes among leaders and followers (Rost, 1993). Both the subjects and leaders must have a mutual relationship that extends beyond their positions (Rost, 1993). The old mechanical theories do not recognize the leadership contributions of followers. They only value the leader positions (Hammer, 2012).
The articles provide a significant shift in leadership from position command to actual leadership. They make the leader the servant leader. The follower rises from under the table and becomes influential in leadership matters. All the writers of the articles showcased the difficulties faced in the old system and now proposed that the new one is better and can help get solutions faster. They touched on all areas of importance from learning institutions to ordinary life at home.
Hammer, D. (2012). Servant leadership. [S.l.]: Pacific Creek Books.
Hargreaves, A., & Fink, D. (2006). Sustainable leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Heifetz, R. (1998). Leadership without easy answers. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Raelin, J. (2003). Creating leaderful organizations: How to bring out leadership in everyone. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.
Rost, J. (1993). Leadership for the twenty-first century. New York: Praeger.