By Ivana Braga
“It is a shame that so many leaders spend their time pondering their rights as leaders instead of their awesome responsibilities as leaders.” — James C. Hunter, The Servant
I used a Internet quiz based in Psychology to give some clues of my leadership style. Please, don’t laugh. Actually, it was quite accurate. You see, according to the system I have characteristics of participative and delegative leadership. It’s not bad at all. I made some progress. I experienced a process like that before in my country, Brazil, personally with human resource and headhunter professionals. The evaluation concluded that I do was participative, but not delegative. I like concentrate things in my hands.
No, I didn’t limited myself to take tests. How you can see on other post, I’m overdosed by American leadership. I’ve attend to seminars, read books and discussed in groups. As result, I found out about Servant Leadership. I identify myself on that pathway, and I know it a long journey. “Being others-focused instead of self-focused changes your worldview. Living in a selfless manner and seeking to help others enriches our very existence on a daily basis. Get your hands dirty once in a while by serving in a capacity that is lower than your position or station in life. This keeps you tethered to the real world and grounded to reality, which should make it harder to be prideful and forget where you came from.” Miles Anthony Smith, Why Leadership Sucks: Fundamentals of Level 5 Leadership and Servant Leadership
I asked Raquel Gutierrez, associate director at St. Luke’s Health Initiatives, to tell us about leadership skill. She highlighted three essential characteristics of successful and authentic leaders: Empathy, curiosity, and vulnerability. And she explains why listed vulnerability. “My experience with impactful leaders is that when they can easily admit they do not know or share an emotion that might not be valued in public/professional arenas, such as sadness, grief, abundant joy it creates a connection with others because these are core human emotions that everyone experiences at one time or another. I happily think this is changing because more case studies are being written on how these characteristics have benefitted well known leaders (Oprah, Brene Brown, President Obama, Sheryl Sandberg). Empathy is about being able to see one’s self in another – this is the cornerstone of being in touch with your humanity.”
Sandy Bahr, Chapter Director of Sierra Club Grand Canyon, also shared her thoughts. “I think my leadership style is to try to inform people and inspire them to act. I try to make sure each person understands that they are powerful and can make a difference, and that by working together, we can make an enormous difference. I think that you really need to like people and also be able to connect with them to work effectively in the non-profit world. I enjoy meeting new people, hearing various perspectives, learning about issues, and generally working with people to try and effect change.I suppose one of the most important qualities in my work is persistence. Giving up is not an option – it is just too important.”
After all, I have to agree with Heissebein leadership is question of to be. Reflecting on my leadership style also reminds my childhood, learning by example. So, let’ me finish talking about part of my day. Today, December 5, 2013, Nelson Mandela passed way. I knew when I got school. I was late for a meeting. I’ve a mix of weird feelings. It was not a surprise, in somehow the world expected it because he was sick for long. That day, I cried, but not for him, for myself. At the night, I refused read news about his death. I preferred to see some pictures Madiba young and old, in the prison, traveling abroad, in South Africa, along politicians, activists, children, family members. I read quotes and historicalfacts. Mandela did what he could, was persecuted and put in jail, suffered to establish another system and changed mindset of million of people about racism. After all, I was still too quiet. Then, I examined why. Of course I was sorry for us, for him, for our cause. I found out that doesn’t matter which leadership style we have. At the end the day or the life what really matters is to rest in peace. It depends what we are, do and which examples we let as legacy. Hail, Madiba!
“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die” - at the Rivonia treason trial in April 1964, when he faced the possibility of a death sentence.
Book Review: ‘More Hesselbein on Leadership’ by Frances Hesselbein, James M. Kouzes (Foreword by)
By Ivana Braga
120 pages | July 2012
Paperback: US$ 15.99 Nook book: US$ 11.49
If you already heard that to serve is to lead, you may are ready to go for “To serve is to live”. That is main point of “More Hesselbein on Leadership”. In that book Frances Hesselbein, CEO of her leadership institute and former CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA, compiled 21 articles from Leader to Leader journal. Beside of foreword by James Kouzes, the book has three other parts: The personal side of leadership, Building and sustaining strong organizations and Leading today and Tomorrow.
For people who are used to traditional leadership books, that one could be a bit disappointment. No, I’m not saying it is not good. It is easy to read, most the text are short cases, but do not be fooled, sometimes you can get overwhelmed by the amount of information in few paragraphs. We take time to digest them. For instance, Hesselbein tells that leadership is not about title or destination, and students often question her “How I know that I’m already a leader?” She said: “When your work express yourself”. Simple words, deep meaning. Her leadership definition is “a matter of how to be, not how to do”. It is a quality and character of the leader that determines the performance, the results.”
Within leadership skills she has highlighted, communication frequently appears. Hesselbein considers that “when we observe the lowest level of trust and the high level cynicism, the call for leaders who are healers and unifiers”. And advice if want people to listen banish the “but” replace with “and”. For her leadership is a matter of who is heard, not who speaks.
What more you can find in that book? Some today’s challenges for nonprofit such as cultural change in organization, although the content is not new, its focus is classic way: revisiting mission and powered practice and beliefs through all staff, partners and costumers. The book also give you a panorama of 2000s nonprofit leadership, profile of some organizations and its leaders. She worked with Peter Drucker, father of modern management, and was Chairman of his foundation. Several times his thoughts are reinforced by Hesselbein as mentor and example of leader.
In sum, More Hesselbein on leadership could be an option for nonprofit leaders. You can find inspirational phrases and insights from Hesselbein leadership journey. For instance, she has a very good closing about her leadership and management style: inclusive and circular. “All our experience in all three sectors, in our own country or with colleagues around the globe, confirms that when we move into a position, a relationship, a structure, or an organization, it is the circles, the inclusive circles, that free up the spirit.”
The author: Admirable leadership journey
Frances Hesselbein is recognized as nonprofit leader in USA, mostly. She is called “grande dame of American management” by The woman BusinessWeek,”Best Nonprofit Manager in America” by Fortune magazine and has a Presidential Medal of Freedom. In fact, Hesselbein was awarded several times and has twenty honorary doctoral degrees. She started as a volunteer troop leader and become CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA. She is coeditor in 29 books translate to 29 languages. Currently, she is editor in Chief of Leader to Leader, the premier leadership journal, President and CEO of the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute (formerly the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management) and is part of many nonprofit and private sector corporate boards. http://www.hesselbeininstitute.org/about/fhbio.html
Published for the first time in 1989, “On Becoming a Leader” is a classical and well-known leadership book by Warren Bennis. The book is a combination of Bennis’s own insights and experience on leadership, case studies and interviews with leaders and top executives from different backgrounds both from for-profit and nonprofit sectors.
From an editorial perspective, the book is not very well structured. The author refers to same arguments in almost every section of the book with many repetitions. The several lists of leaders “must-do”s or “must-be”s create confusion as there are so many of them and there is no explanation about how they are compiled.
Bennis starts his book by underlining that there is a need and lack of leadership. It is crucial for our lives since our quality of life depends on leaders. He puts an emphasis on especially national leaders. According to him, national leaders are important because they are responsible for effectiveness, they inspire and restore hope and they provide integrity to institutions. He also answers a very much-debated question in the nonprofit sector by saying that no matter how collaborative the organization is, there is still a need for a leader to coordinate members and make final decisions. The main characteristics of leaders are being visionary, innovative, and original.
Bennis gives a list of ingredients of leadership: guiding vision, passion, integrity, trust, curiosity and daring. A leader give inspiration and hope to other people, a leader is honest, dedicated, authentic and capable of working with others and learning with others. Leader embrace errors, experiment and take risks. He stresses that vision and character cannot be thought, the leaders should invent themselves. To become a leader, we need to know what we are made of and what we want to make of it. One of the ways of doing that is to speak or write your thoughts to be able to develop a sense of yourself and your role in the world. Trying new things, testing yourself, beliefs and principles, being a good explorer and a good listener, applauding yourself for the small successes are some of the tips that may help people to discover themselves. Therefore, self-knowledge is crucial and there are 4 lessons to increase it:
1- You are your own teacher.
2- Accept responsibility. Blame no one.
3- You can learn anything you want to learn.
4- True understanding comes from reflecting on your experience.
From a semantic perspective, if the term “leader” or “good leader” is defined according to the lists provided in the book, there is a missing explanation about how the author classifies a good leader and a bad leader. The leader is presented as an ethical person with high morality and character, in other words as a good person, yet the book does not discuss whether all successful leaders should fit into that criteria or not. Thus, all the good leader or good leadership examples remain purely subjective and argumentative such as the assessment of presidents. The assessment remains superficial and confusing and not enough explanatory.
A leader should be dedicated to continuous learning and should see mistakes as learning opportunities. The writer argues that learning at school is important but it is not enough itself. Education should be combined with practical experience and enriched through families, travelling, private life, friends and mentors. Overall, leaders learn how to learn from experience and how to analyze them in a constructive way. Leaders consciously seek the kinds of experience that will improve them.
The writer’s observation is that American organizational life is a left-brain culture: logical, analytical, technical, controlled, conservative and administrative. His suggestion is that American culture needs more right-brain qualities and leaders must combine administrative and imaginative skills such as empathy and encouraging diversity of opinion. The role of the leader is to figure out how you make diverse people and elements together. From an international perspective, the book mainly focuses on leadership and organizational culture in the USA. All the leaders interviewed are Americans and they succeeded in the USA therefore it is not entirely relevant for global audience.
Bennis states that leaders learn by leading in the face of obstacles. The obstacles may vary: working with a bad boss, crisis, adversity, etc. Facing with those obstacles and even failing can be a way for leaders to “invent themselves”.
Throughout the book, Bennis emphasizes that a leader should have character. The section titled “getting people on your side” gives a formula for leaders who want to make people follow them without the feeling of fear, obligation, and dependence. The four ingredients are constancy, congruity, reliability, and integrity. According to the author, if the members of a team believe in the mission of the organization or feel they also develop personally through the development of the organization, it is easier to work collaboratively.
It is important for individuals to have a willingness to “invent themselves”, but is that enough? Shouldn’t organizations enable people to develop their leadership capacities as well? As a response to that question, Bennis explains how “organizations can help-or hinder” in the ninth section of the book. There are three major forces working on the world today—technology, global interdependence, and demographics and values. The succeeding organizations have similar characteristics according to the Tom Peters’ Thriving in Chaos: less hierarchical structure, more autonomous units, an orientation toward high-value-added goods and service, quality controls, service controls, responsiveness, innovative speed, flexibility, highly trained workers and leaders at all levels rather than managers. Organizations should provide opportunities, invest in its employees, create mechanisms that will avoid burnout, and measure their effectiveness.
The book’s final section “forging for the future” summarizes the factors for the future:
-Leaders manage the dream.
-Leaders embrace error.
-Leaders encourage reflective backtalk.
-Leaders encourage dissent.
-Leaders possess the Nobel factor: optimism, faith, and hope.
-Leaders understand the Pygmalion effect in management.
-Leaders have a certain “touch.”
-Leaders see the long view.
-Leaders understand stakeholder symmetry.
-Leaders create strategic alliances.
The book is a good combination of leadership qualities and gives some tips about how to foster these qualities. It is not the best book though if you are not fond of self-help books.
by Derya Kaya
Adaptive leadership is a response to adaptive challenges which are complex, not very well analyzed or -for several reasons- ignored challenges. The adaptive leadership requires a very honest elaboration of the challenge by questioning how each individual affected by the problem plays a part in its creation and existence.
Both servant leadership and adaptive leadership emerge to deal with a critical need or problem. On the other hand, the servant leader does not need to mobilize and engage people as much as an adaptive leader. The solution to the problem is most of the time more obvious for servant leaders while adaptive leadership demands a completely brand-new approach to the challenge. The adaptive leader aims to develop people’s capacity to solve their problem instead of dealing with the symptoms of the problem.
Adaptive leadership suggests that conventional leadership styles only works for technical problems which can be identified and solved in a short time. An in-depth analysis is an important step of the adaptive leadership as “challenges are typically grounded in the complexity of values, beliefs and loyalties rather than technical complexity and stir up intensive emotions rather than dispassionate analysis”.* The method of the leader is to make people question their own roles, interests, and stakes in the problem which is not possible without an active participation and willingness of the related community. Adoptive leadership suggests that “the problem lies in people, solution lies in them too”.** In that sense, the adaptive leader may not be as popular as a servant leader by encouraging people to face with their cultural, social and political dogma. The courageous, participatory and challenging way of the adaptive leadership means asking the right questions and creating an environment where everyone is able to express their ideas that otherwise they would keep to themselves.
The adaptive leader may not be as popular as the servant leader, however to be able to effectively address an adaptive challenge every leader must use some techniques of the adaptive leadership: not to direct or lead people but to facilitate and encourage people to turn to themselves, to be honest enough to see their own stake in the problems. As such, every adaptive leader needs to have some elements of servant leadership, a leadership style which highlights commitment and the pursuit of common goals versus personal goals.
by Derya Kaya
*The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World by Ronald Heifetz, Alexander Grashow, and Marty Linsky
** The Theory Behind the Practice: A Brief Introduction to the Adaptive Leadership Framework by Ronald Heifetz, Alexander Grashow, and Marty Linsky
Don’t we all wish that there was a magical recipe or an operating manual for managing relationships? We have so many different kinds of relationships and each of them is unique: different foundation, mechanism, and conditionality.
Some relationships are more complicated and baffling such as the ones we have with our colleagues since they are closer to the line between your professional and personal life. In my experience, I had friends who became just my colleagues and colleagues who became my good friends.
There are so many traps in establishing good relationships in professional life: competition, disagreements, conflicts of interests and any other inter-personal, inner-team issues. It is always said that we need to find a balance our personal and professional life, but in practice it is not easy at all.
Why? Let’s start with cultural issues. In my country (Turkey), almost every professional relationship is personal. We tend to work with people like us, people that we can relate to. In general, the qualifications play a secondary role in the decision-making when an employee is hired.
Therefore, we consider every criticism, disagreement and conflict as personal even in professional life. A real life example: If someone provides feedback about the job we are doing, the initial instinct is to take it personal. Before questioning the work, we question the emotions of that person toward us. Or if we have a good relationship with someone we avoid expressing our criticism and dissatisfaction.
It is hard to completely separate your personal and professional life. It is not fun either. If you are more than colleagues at work, it is more likely that you are better motivated and better teammates. It is also perfectly OK if you choose just to stay colleagues. On the other hand; it is a very tricky balance to keep. We need to have awareness about the intersections of personal and professional life and communicate openly.
by Derya Kaya
By Ivana Braga
Teamwork is a complex concept and practice. I have some insights from my experience. However, in advance, I will tell you I don’t have all the answers to make teams efficient. It is because we are talking not about tasks, but people and relationships. The first point to consider, from our human behavior, is the view of teamwork change if we are the person/leader who needs people to work as team and have the work done. That position challenges us. So, instead we say teamwork is not viable; we try to involve people, make them give their best.
That point also helps to clarify the difference between tasks and projects. Tasks can be executed individually, but projects demand a team’s effort. I have worked for organizations, mostly in the nonprofit sector, and teamwork is almost a rule. In general, we have a bare-minimum staff and a lot of work. It also is related to some values the organizations have such as horizontality and democracy. Personally, I love the moment I share an embryonic idea and it becomes a spectacular project after a team meeting, and then, everyone pushes to achieve the results. My best achievements couldn’t happen without others’ talents.
Despite this, I’m not always welcome to the idea of working as a team when asked for. Some disappointed experiences made me reticent. I have perceived that besides personal problems, what upsets a person in the workplace is related to teamwork. The complaints are about the misunderstanding of the project; what he/she really has to do; concerning someone that didn’t meet deadline; regarding different ways to do things or referring to the effort ones have put and others not.
Therefore, my wish is to do an exceptional job and have happy people around me. No, I’m not kind. I’m more productive in this environment. If teamwork is inevitable, some mistakes are.
The Malawian proverb “mutu umodzi susenza denga” (literary meaning one head alone can not carry a roof) means that you can’t solve problems alone. This proverb is often told to instill a sense of group superiority over the individual. This does not mean that Malawians do not celebrate the success of an individual. We do. I do. But the work of an individual is much more appreciated in relation to the group.
In my rural village when you have constructed a roof of a traditional granary, you need relatives or friends to help you lift the roof up and fix it atop the granary. You can not lift it up alone. It is close to be impossible as much as it is a taboo to do it alone.
The process of lifting up the roof atop the granary is equally important as the process of building the roof. Here is how important it is! My personal reasons why I like working in teams.
Teams help the individual showcases his or her talent
By inviting others to help you carry the roof atop the granary, you, the builder of the roof, are acknowledging that your work is complete. You are happy with it. And by accepting your invitation, your friends or relatives acknowledge your work, skill and achievement. It’s like inviting them to celebrate your success. It is a mini exhibition.
Teams help to sharpen individual talents
Before helping you carry the roof, your friends and relatives will examine the roof and either approve it as effective or not. They may make a small adjustment to tighten the ropes for it to be stronger or increase the layers of grass so that water should not leak through. The team help us to sharpen our skills and create a better product.
Teams compliment our effort.
There are situations that require more than one head. Some situations demand more than two hands. There are challenges that cannot be solved by an individual alone. You need friends and relatives to help you carry the roof atop the granary. You cannot do it alone. We need teams to compliment our effort and achieve more.
Teams propel individual skills to new levels
By carrying the roof and fixing it on the traditional granary, more people will be to see the beautifully crafted roof. More and more people passing by will be able to appreciate your work. This is possible because the roof has been put on a higher level. It is no longer on the ground. In basketball, football or soccer, the talent and skills of players is magnified by the work and skills of other team members. Michael Jordan wouldn’t have been the greatest player in basketball without being in a team.
So whatever roof you are carrying – talent, skills, or performance – you need a team.
Last Monday, in leadership seminar, we gave presentations on leadership qualities and styles of different leaders. My classmates chose big names like Aung Sun Suu Kyi, Indira Gandhi and Vladimir Putin. I chose Batman.
Batman is around since 1939 (first launch by DC Comics). He character has gone through several transformations in over seven decades but the foundation character hence of his world and life remains the same. He is probably the only fictional heroes who has been living in several different stages of life (young, old), his character is one of the most comprehensive works of fiction I have come across.
His character is imbued in irremovable memories of childhood trauma, strong personal convictions, perseverance, contradictions and difficult choices; things real world leaders face often.
LIFE IN SHORT
So everyone knows that Batman is the secret identity of the Bruce Wayne, of Wayne Enterprises, a billionaire. Bruce sees his mom and dad shot in cold blood and that memory haunts him for the rest of his life and at times becomes his (only) weakness. He sets out to avenge their death, to get justice but realise that killing the murderer wouldn’t make his nightmares disappear but he finds solace in idea of saving people from the crimes and criminals. He takes on a secret identity, an everlasting and stirring idea. He eventually becomes the most influential member of Justice League of America and saves the world. He is also known as ‘the Caped Crusader,’ ‘the Dark Knight’ and the best detective in the world.
WHAT MAKES BATMAN’S STORY SO COMPELLING FROM LEADERSHIP’S POINT OF VIEW?
Bruce uses Batman’s identity as a dramatic example which he uses to stir people out of apathy (and even inspire). Real world leaders use dramatic examples too. I don’t think people in the world would like Gandhi better if he had worn typical Indian dress or branded clothes. I think a reason Gandhi made huge impact was the appeal of his physical outlook. The reason people find Nelson Mandela so inspiring was the fact that he borne imprisonment for 27 years.
Batman’s character is not free from contradictions. Batman does not kill people because he doesn’t consider himself above the law but he does break other laws. He even gathers intelligence illegally but it is all meant for greater good and sometimes he end up creating a threat for himself and the very people he wants to protect. So Batman makes mistakes and sometimes he has to pay heavy price for these mistakes.
Batman is a loner and he has trust issues. Well a lot of superheroes are sort of loners and geeky hence not trusting other people but Batman’s loneliness stems from his childhood memories and the inner voice which keeps telling him to help his city, his people else he is nothing but a hollow shell. I don’t think real world leader feel like hollow shells but they do have inner voices and I think bigger leader have stronger and louder inner voices – inner compasses that guide them into the right directions.
The Caped Crusader is also a great example of workmanship, he creates his tools, weapons and whatever he needs. He also uses the best technology (probably not as tech savvy as Iron Man) available. Obama’s first Presidential campaign was especially known for using new social media avenues and technology. He has an extraordinary set of skills something all leaders strive for through out their lives so they could achieve their objectives.
He is the only human being in the group of immortals and indestructible members of Justice League of America. He knows his limitations as a human being and this is the reason he always manage to compensate for those limitations with help of technology, knowledge and just by being smart.
Unlike other superheroes Batman does a lot of research, he is known as ‘world’s best detective’, he plans everything.
Batman’s character has been created in different stages of life and one of the most persistent element is the nightmares about his parents’ death – it is a propelling force, the motivation, which keeps him on his toes. I would love to know what kind of nightmares great leaders have, if they have any.
Batman is the only superhero who does not have any superpowers…so he doesn’t have any super strengths, his life doesn’t depend on being a superhero (remember Tony Stark) he is a superhero because he chose to be one. Some people confuse his agility with superpower but he actually does not fly from one building to another. He has trained himself with help of other people to reach to that level. He travels a lot. Ain’t this what a lot of leaders do? I couldn’t find a single leader (through google search) in the world who reached the heights without persistence and hard work.
He hasn’t discovered himself, he has created himself. I think all of us can create ourselves as leaders and we don’t have to wear capes.
The first time I heard about the Elders was in 2007 just before the launch of the network. I was at an international conference in Scotland and the audience was mostly from the NGO world. NGOs (non-governmental organizations) are a medium between people and the governments; therefore the idea of Elders, a group of prominent independent leaders from around the world working together for peace and human rights, was welcomed with excitement. The moment I was asked to write about peace-building, I recalled that day and wondered if Elders are still active and how much this endeavor has achieved in the recent years.
The idea of Elders was created by musician- activist Peter Gabriel and entrepreneur-businessman Richard Branson. Communities all around the world ask for guidance from elders to resolve conflicts, so using the wisdom and collective experience of committed and respected individuals to create a more peaceful world may work. The idea was first supported by Nelson Mandela who is the Honorary Elder and Founder of the group. The distinguished group has now thirteen members and chaired by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The current members are Martti Ahdisaari, Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Fernando Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Hina Jelani, Graça Marcel, Mary Robinson, Desmond Tutu, and Ernesto Zedillo.
The members of the group have to be independent, not bound by the interests of any nation, government or institution. The Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi left the group after her election to the parliament in April 2012. Other principles of Elders are the commitment to promoting the shared interests of humanity and the universal human rights, listening everyone in any conflict, acting boldly, and stressing every individual can make a difference.
Elders engage in private advocacy through using their reputation and influence to “open doors and access decision-makers”. The group including people who were active in peace-building processes decides collectively on the issues they want to focus. In the past 6 years, the group worked on conflicts in Sudan, Sri Lanka, Middle East, Korea and Cote d’Ivoire. Elders also focus on development issues such as equality for girls and women. By communicating their views regularly and visiting conflict areas, Elders’s aim to attract the attention of the public and the decision-makers.
During the crisis in Syria, Elders defended that “There is no military solution to this conflict,” “The Security Council has a moral responsibility to find common ground, putting the well-being of the Syrian people at the forefront of its decisions, in order to end the violence and achieve a peaceful settlement based on an inclusive political process,”. Former US President and Elders member Jimmy Carter argued that an international action is the only way of ensuring that Syrian chemical weapons will not be used again.**
It seems the Elders have been actively engaging in the political debate on Syria as well as many other conflicts to make a change in the world, but do we listen to them enough? Both citizens and media should give them more space and support them in their conflict management, peace-making and peace-building efforts- not because their word counts more, but just to be able to hear different voices.
by Derya Kaya
*** Learn more on Elders at http://www.theelders.org
What kind of peace should world leaders focus on most? Negative peace (absence of violence) or positive peace (presence of social justice, equity and harmony in a society).
Our leaders seem to put too much emphasis on negative peace at the expense of positive peace. They are too preoccupied with cessation of overt hostilities. Cessation of threats from Al-Quaida, Russia, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Israel, Palestine or visa-versa is a common language among world leaders.
Are these threats enough to justify a world defense budget in the range of $1800 billion? In a report published earlier this year, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reported that world military spending in 2012 was estimated at US$1756 billion. Over 62% of this came from the G8 nations, with the United States contributing $708 billion, or 40% of global military spending.
There is nothing wrong in protecting citizens – that is the key role of the state. Individually we seek our own safety too. It’s for survival. It is one of the basic needs according to Maslow’s human hierarchy of needs. The problem is our leaders appear to be stuck on avoidance of direct violence to the extend that we are constrained as citizens and nations to advance and promote positive peace; mutual and equal well-being of people.
Take the issue of malnutrition, for instance. The G8 committed up to $4.15 billion to save at least 501.7 million lives through the treatment of severe malnutrition. We might choose to applauded the leaders of the developed nations for this act of benevolence for the poor souls in distant places. $4.15 billion sounds like a hello of money – but in reality it is just a drop in the ocean. Here is the glaring arithmetic calculation. For the 501.7 million people affected by malnutrition, $4.15 billion amounts to 2¢ a day each. Sounds ridiculous! It is.
If positive peace – fostering food security – was a real priority, wealthy nations would dig far deeper. And there is one source of funds that the G8 nations could redirect towards nutrition very easily indeed: military expenditure. If all countries reduce their military budget by 1%, the world will save $17.56 billion for nutrition. What when you discover that the US army alone squanders over $3 billion each year on weapons it ends up canceling. What when you learn that America spends $2 billion a per day just to keep the army ‘ready’. What when it is revealed to you that Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety.
Can we afford this ‘negative peace’ posture?
You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club……..Jack London
Where do successful leaders draw their inspiration from? Is it from God? Is it love for money or passion to help others?
My thoughts about Martin Luther King Jr. is that he had many sources of inspiration. Wife and children, personal experiences and great world leaders before him. However, there are two sources of inspiration that I think influenced King most: game changers and change itself. I will talk about these two in a moment, but first here are my favorite quotes from King and world leaders about their sources of inspiration.
Darling, I miss you so much. In fact, much too much for my own good. I never realized that you were such an intimate part of my life. My life without you is like a year without a spring time which comes to give illumination and heat to the atmosphere saturated by the dark cold breeze of winter…….King wrote to Coretta his wife.
I have a dream, that my four little children’s will grow up in a nation where they will not judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. – King – I have a dream speech<
…. I’m inspired by the love people have for their children. And I’m inspired by my own children, how full they make my heart. They make me want to work to make the world a little bit better. And they make me want to be a better man – President Barak Obama
My personal inspirations are my parents. Yes, I admit it’s a bit cliché, but their voices have been in my head for my entire life – David H. Stevens, President and CEO at Mortgage Bankers Association
That night will never leave my memory as long as I live. It was the angriest I had ever been in my life. Never before, or afterward, can I remember myself being so angry? …….King wrote reflecting on a day he was asked to give up a seat in a bus to a white passenger
What about the influence Abraham Lincoln and Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi had on King. Thats a new subject or book on its own. Remember King visited the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi in India in 1959 and was ‘baptized’ in non-violent protest. Three words that quickly come to my mind when thinking of Lincoln and King are braveness, perseverance and assassination.
Well, here are two sources of inspiration that had greater impact on King as a leader.
Game changing people
Richard Branson, Founder at Virgin Group shares the power of game changing people in his ‘Who inspires me’ post on LinkedIn . He says game changers are people who will stop at nothing to make a positive difference to other people’s lives.
King had plenty such characters in his team. He worked with Whitney Young, John Lewis, Roy Wilkins, James L. Farmer, Jr., and A. Philip Randolph, the renowned labor leader who is credited for originally conceiving the idea of bringing protesters to Washington.
This was a team of game changers. The unrelenting ‘Big Six’ as the six organizers were referred to refused to call off the Washington March when President John F. Kennedy held a meeting with them at the White House and informed them that the march would jeopardize the Civil Rights Bill to be presented to Congress. The ‘Big Six’ stopped at nothing but reaching their goals.
Perhaps King would have agreed with Richard Branson, the Virgin empire magnate, when he says “I am fortunate to come across quite a few of these game-changing people, and the desire to help (and keep up with them!) is what drives me.”
Change: Please Tell Me I Can’t
One of the greatest inspiration for King was the idea of change. This is what I consider to be his main motivation: changing the status quo. He was motivated by being told you can’t. You can’t sit in a bus when a white passenger is standing. You can’t vote. You can’t do this or that because you are black. This motivated King to fight on and on. And the more he achieved the impossible the more he was motivated to fight even greater impossibilities.
When he successfully destroyed the racial discrimination policy in the Montgomery city’s public transit system, he aimed for a higher goal: right to vote, economic rights, labor rights, etc. This was achieved too. The successor to the assassinated John F. Kennedy, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964. One year later, he signed the National Voting Rights Act of 1965. These achievement were even greater motivation for King to aspire for more.
Naomi Simson, Founder of RedBalloon, puts more weight on impossibilities as a motivation. She writes on the topic of ‘what inspires you’ on LinkedIn:
Tell me I “cannot” do, be or have something – and that is the surest way to inspire me into action. What inspires me is simply when the ‘impossible becomes possible’ – to tackle a problem and never give up, no matter how challenging.
What do you think really inspired Martin Luther King Jr.? I would love to hear your views.
As part of our “Lessons in Leadership–Hollywood Style” project, our group examined the leadership styles and ethical dilemmas found in the powerful 1993 film Schindler’s List.
- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Writers: Thomas Keneally (who wrote the orginial book), Steven Zillian (screenplay)
- Stars: Liam Neeson (Oskar Schindler), Ralph Finnes (Itzhak Stern), Ben Kingsley (Amon Goeth)
- Summary: Based on a true story, Schindler’s List follows the transformation of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman (and declared Nazi) who uses his power as a factory owner to rescue more than 1,100 of his Jewish workers from death. (Spoiler Alert! For those who haven’t seen the film but wish to learn more, click here.)
There were two key leadership styles we identified in this film: transformational and autocratic.
Oskar Schindler, the main character and unlikely hero of the film, truly demonstrates characteristics of a transformational leader. As the film opens, it’s clear Schindler is a savvy, charismatic businessman who will stop at nothing to make a fortune. So, when Nazi law encourages the exploitation of Jews as workers, Schindler jumps at the chance to take advantage of the scenario (despite knowing the exploitation is wrong). However, as World War II progresses—and the fate of the Jews becomes more and more clear—Schindler slowly transforms from a greedy war profiteer to a courageous, sympathetic leader determined to use his power (and persuasive charisma) for good. Sacrificing his safety and wealth to help others, Schindler bravely stands up for what he believes in through bribing Nazi/SS commanders to protect his Jewish workers and keep his factory a safe “sub-camp” for them. Demonstrating courage, kindness, assertiveness and charisma—all in the face of one of history’s most ruthless regimes—Schindler provides an extraordinary example of leadership still relevant today.
On the other hand, the antagonist of the film–Nazi commander Amon Goeth–is an autocratic leader, using a ruthless, authoritarian leadership style to assert his power and control over the Jews of the Plaszów work camp. Deeply entrenched in Nazi philosophy, Goeth rarely listens to input from others, refuses to admit he is wrong for fear of showing weakness and dictates all decisions in the camp–including shooting random prisoners from his Villa balcony for fun.
THE TURNING POINT
Because Schindler’s List is set during World War II, the ethical dilemmas are essentially embedded in the tumultuous plot–an intersection of conflict rooted in politics, business and humanity. However, there is an important turning point in the film where Schindler begins to struggle internally and the main ethical dilemma of the film arises. As Schindler witnesses the violent and dramatic evacuation of the Polish Kraków ghetto, he sees a little Jewish girl in a red coat aimlessly wandering the dirty streets. Sticking out among the black and white images of the film, it becomes evident that the girl awakens a form of humanity in Schindler. It is from this point forward that Schindler begins making a personal effort to bring Jews to safety in his factory–and, consequently, has to bribe, work with, and obey members of the Nazi regime (like Goeth).
- Schindler’s List was shot mostly in black and white.
- The film is based on the novel Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally, an Australian novelist.
- At the time the film was released (1993), there were fewer than 4,000 Jews left alive in Poland. It is estimated that there are more than 6,000 descendants of the Schindler Jews today.
- The film is being re-released by Universal Studios on DVD March 5th of this year! You can check out the new trailer and how to buy the DVD here.
Because I’ll probably never have the chance to do it again, I’m going to analyze the leadership of three characters from the first book of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, “A Game of Thrones,” which will pretty much match the characters in the HBO television show, “Game of Thrones.” This show revolves around the concept of leadership and what it means to have power over others. It’s an incredibly complex and enjoyable story that always keeps me pondering a person’s sense of responsibility over others versus their own wellbeing.
Eddard Stark — Servant leader, bureaucratic leader. As the ruler of the North, Stark truly cares about his subjects and justice. Unfortunately, he’s about the only character in this story who holds a sense of righteousness. When children die, he thinks it’s wrong, no matter whose side of the political gridlock they’re on. But everyone else considers dead children another loss in their quest for power. Stark also believes in the classic succession in a monarchy that relates to one’s blood. When Stark finds out that King Baratheon did not beget his heir, Stark attempts to tell the king, but then the King dies. So Stark writes the deceased king’s brother and tells him to declare himself king. Stark had the chance to tell King Baratheon about this issue with the heir, but chose not to for the sake of the heir, who is a child. He did not want the kingdom to revolt and kill the boy who lied about being heir. He did not want children to die. Because of these actions, he loses his head. This willingness to save lies and follow the rules makes Stark a classic servant leader and bureaucratic leader.
King Robert Baratheon — Laissex-Faire leader. I know this term was not taught to us in class, but it fits King Baratheon best of all the types. Quite frankly, he is a terrible leader, and can’t help it. He won the throne because he was an incredible warrior, and battled his way to the top. Baratheon says, “When I won the throne I thought I would be able to do whatever I wanted.” He did not realize the responsibility that followed the Iron Thrones (as they call it in the book). Baratheon cannot handle politics. When people wage war with words, he walks out of the room. He is best at wielding a battle axe. While he has some sense of justice, he has no idea how to instill it in the seven kingdoms. He leaves his small council to rule the kingdom while he gorges himself on feasts and women.
Daenerys Targaryen — Servant leader, charismatic leader, transformational leader. Exiled to the Eastern lands, Targaryen enters the book at a weak, abused 14-year-old girl. She ends the books as a confident, powerful queen (who is still 14-years-old!). This transformation is incredibly well-told by Martin. When Daenerys’ brother sells her to be the wife a Dothraki horselord (essentially a Mongolian), Daenerys is frightened and innocent. But as the book progresses, Daenerys slowly morphs into her role of power, calling herself khaleesi and convincing her horselord husband to take back the Seven Kingdoms in the West. Her powerful message and sense of confidence radiates to those around her, and even in her weakest state she holds command over others. She never lets go of her goal, which makes her transformational. She always acts with grace and confidence, which makes her charismatic. And she always works for what she thinks is the good of others, which makes her a servant leader.
Overall, leadership in Game of Thrones varies with each character. But those struggles of power and the conflict grip the reader into an obsession that won’t end until book seven in released.
In a move described as “the largest transaction in the history of the food business,” Warren Buffett recently acquired another multimillion-dollar company to add to his portfolio: H. J. Heinz Company. Known as one of the most successful and wealthiest investors in the world, Buffet’s acquisition of the ketchup company could make him the owner of the most highly-leveraged U.S. food manufacturer (with a market value greater than $5 billion!), according to Bloomberg data.
It’s no secret that Buffett consistently grows strong brands and produces above-average returns on his investments—his nickname is “the Oracle of Omaha,” after all. But, Buffett is not perfect. He’s had a series of serious investment mistakes in the energy industry, and was completely wrong in his forecast that the housing industry would quickly bounce back and become profitable. So what makes Buffett such a great leader? Why is his name recognized above thousands of other investors who are younger or more profitable?
Buffett has stated multiple times that he values his public image, which is one of the reasons why is he a huge philanthropist (and is so admired). The author of Amazon.com’s top-selling biography, Buffett makes it a point to be transparent in his business strategies and personal life. In fact, Buffet was the first to break the news to the press that he was diagnosed with Stage 1 prostate cancer once he found out.
Just as Scott Pansky mentioned in his discussion on cause marketing Monday, transparency is key in establishing a brand partnership that people see as authentic and trust—which is exactly what Buffett has done to craft his success and become a respected leader. Buffett recognizes his strengths and weakness, and uses this self-identity to influence others.
I’d even venture to say that one of the reasons he’s so successful is because he follows a horizontal leadership approach, bringing fresh perspectives to his investments through constantly working with others and recognizing feedback.
Do you agree that Warren Buffett should be a respected leader? Do you think others could follow his transparency strategy and be successful?
Growing up in a large, Italian family is a lot of fun—when you’re not the baby. As the youngest of seven grandchildren, I was always the one who was left out at family gatherings. I was “too short” to play basketball with the boys, “too young” to watch TV with the girls, and “too fidgety” to listen to the grown-ups in their robust discussions. I was always told to “go somewhere else.”
So, naturally, I went to the one place I knew someone would welcome me—the kitchen. No matter what circumstance, my Nana was always in the kitchen preparing food for the family. Whether she knew of my ostracizing or simply wanted company, I’ll never know. But, she always welcomed me and found something for me to do, somehow weaving in a life lesson with each activity.
Thus, it only seems appropriate that one summer evening she taught me one of my first lessons in leadership. Engrossed in a picture I was drawing, I remember becoming upset that I didn’t have the color I wanted to complete the picture. (I guess you could say I was a bit of a high maintenance child.)
My Nana told me not to cry, because she had just bought a new set of crayons that she left in the cellar.
I was petrified of the cellar. Old, dark and smelly, the cellar was my least favorite part of my house, and she knew it. I told her I didn’t want to go into the cellar, and that I’d just leave my picture unfinished.
She turned around from the stove, placed her hands on her petite frame, and uttered a statement I’ll never forget: “Nicole Marie Lavella. How dare you abandon all of that hard work! Some of the hardest things in life require the scariest steps.”
My Nana taught me many leadership qualities—patience, the ability to work with others, encouragement. But, most of all, my Nana taught me courage. She taught me how to tackle my fears—and how to lead others in the same way.
by Sara Steffan
My leadership lesson came recently (or my memory doesn’t go very far back!) when I was deciding where to go to college in Fall 2008/early Spring 2009.
My parents gave me the opportunity to attend any college I wanted, and they would help with my tuition up to $25,000 per year. I remember thinking at the time that this was one of the first chances I had ever had at making a substantive decision about my future, and the fact that it was coming with financial support what more than I even could have imagined.
So it quickly became one of the most exciting things to ever happen to me, but at the same time it completely overwhelmed me. I wanted a pre-professional program with a focus on writing and communication. Journalism seemed like a natural fit.
But where did I want to go? Location was an important factor that I did not anticipate having such influence on my decision. And, more importantly, cost – when did schooling become so expensive? My top choice at the time, Syracuse University, was $44,000 per year. My scholarship only knocked $4,000 off the price tag; even with my parents’ help, I would still be paying $15,000 a year with student loans.
When I got an offer letter from ASU that ended up covering almost all of my tuition, I had to think long and hard about how much location was important to me. Did I want to be close to my family in upstate New York? Or did I want to venture further and eventually, have almost complete financial freedom?
Leadership isn’t just about leading others. Great leaders also have to show personal responsibility and skillful decision-making about their own lives. When I decided to come to ASU, even though it was something I’d never considered until that letter arrived in the mail, I felt confident that my future was now in my hands and that I was able to successfully manage the responsibility my parents had given me. And being able to shoulder that weight was one of the most important lessons I’ve learned about myself thus far.
My dad has always served as a role model since I was very young. His sense of humor and infallible optimism have guided me through many challenges where I emerged as a stronger, self-assured person. One example was in fourth grade, when the awkward years of adolescence loomed and the bullying began. The other kids loved to pick on the skinny, exuberant, hyper Harmony. It didn’t bother me much, because I had friends who didn’t say mean things or judge me. Regardless, my dad always told me they were jealous, which wasn’t necessarily true, but it kept my self-confidence aflame and my weird flag high in the sky.
But my dad’s “they’re jealous” adage was not the true leadership skill I learned from him. The real lesson emerged when another girl took the bullying to the next level by writing something like “I’m stinky” on a piece of lined paper (I can’t remember what the paper really said, but it was some immature statement), covering it in glue, and slapping it across my back.
They had moved beyond words to physical harassment, and my teacher noticed. Really, to me, it wasn’t a big deal. The glue seeped through my shirt, but 8-year-old Harmony merely giggled with the rest of them, not understanding their intentions. But my teacher witnessed the whole shenanigan and immediately sent the culprit to the Principal’s Office, with me for testimony. Mrs. Smith (the principal), was frighteningly furious at the bully. She explained how spiteful the student’s actions had been, and punished my classmate with suspension (I think that’s what it was? I know she got in big trouble).
So for the rest of the day I played the part of victim, taking full advantage of my poor, bullied persona and getting attention and apology from everyone in class. Even though I hadn’t been particularly torn up about the now-punished girl’s gesture, I now acted like it pained me deeply. Oh what a world where people can glue things to other people’s backs!
When I got home, my parents repeated the usual slew of “you’re better than them”s and “you are so special”s. I was mostly excited about getting their extra attention, as the incident was already slowly fading from my memory.
In fact, I probably would have forgotten this entire fourth grade fiasco if my dad had not sat by me on the couch later that evening. He held my hand and explained the cruel nature of the world, something I had heard before. But then he began to discuss the other girl’s feelings. Her motivations. Her doubts. Her pressures. Though I had heard the jealousy speech countless times before, this time the concept finally reached my 4th grade psyche: empathy.
Dad explained that the girl had probably expected my friendship from the gesture. She thought it would be a funny prank and that we might laugh about it together. Where the school had seen cruel bullying, my dad saw a child’s joke. I should not see the punished girl as a mean, heartless attacker, but as a girl confused and lonely. From this discussion with my dad, I learned that even the most horrible should be understood in some sense. While I don’t sympathize with the worst people, murderers and rapists, I do understand now that they can have feelings and doubts, like any other human beings.
And, more importantly, people are not good or bad. It all depends on one’s perspective.
A leader tries to understand other people. A leader does not simply categorize others as smart, beautiful, helpful or polite. A leader gets to know people by listening to them and empathizing with their concerns.
While my dad is not the most empathetic person I know, he is a charming, dedicated and thoughtful father. After hearing his advice, I regretted my gloated sorrow from earlier in the day. From then on, I reacted with my own sense of understanding, rather than simply playing the part for others around me. The perspective he gave me after that simple bullying dilemma has stuck with me, and always will.
When we got a question to think about early childhood and person who influenced us to be proactive for the first time in our lives, that made me really travel deep into my memories and for sure I have found there so many things that I haven’t think about for a long, long time…
I was always hyperactive and impatient person.. Probably even before I was born. I came to this world one month earlier than it should be.. My mother told me that I haven’t crawl at all, that my first move was trying to walk.. They probably took from me my favorite toy or something very important for me at that time… I admit I really know to be stubborn sometimes…
But what I do remember, a little bit blurry but still remember, is that I start to swim when I was 5 or 6 years old.. My father had a lot of influence on me.. I was really close to him, and he was example that I always followed in life.. And I do remember that we were playing with a ball in the sea.. On the invisible edge where already with next step I would be in deeper water.. And he wanted to teach me how to swim.. And I wanted to make him proud of me.. Probably defiance inside of me made me swim in order to reach the ball.. and not to ask for help… Human nature is really tricky…
Later on in my life, during the war time I could, for sure, say that my mother proved me that she is one of the strongest leaders that I have ever met in my life..and probably the strongest that I would ever meet.. She faced difficult choices and conditions and make, not just herself, but all of us go through them..
And I have learned a lot from her, about human will and patience…
Life is a miracle, and if we have a love and passion for something, we can make it.. for sure…
As a non-partisan voter, I came into the first presidential debate tonight with an open mind to take note of what leadership qualities each candidate brought to the table. But after watching the entire debate and following it on Twitter, it was hard to find a large amount of leadership qualities in our current president Barack Obama in comparison with Mitt Romney. Although I’ll confess I’m not up to speed with every single issue discussed in the debate and BOTH candidates probably were in need of fact checks, my opinion sided with the general consensus that could be found on Twitter or Facebook: Romney took round one of the debates.
While Obama seemed uncomfortable, condescending and often bored during the debate, Romney spoke with enthusiasm and speed. He furiously scribbled down notes while Obama was talking and responded well. Many pointed out his creepy and almost condescending smile while Obama was talking, but the fact that this was made into such a big deal just points out how truly boring Obama’s speeches were: he meandered off topic, he went off on tangents and he spoke so slowly that the pace of the debate slowed to a standstill every time it was his turn. Obama spoke for four more minutes than Romney did, but Romney probably said a lot more with his time. Despite the creepy smile, Romney seemed attentive whenever Obama spoke while the president looks angry and frustrated when it was Romney’s turn. Romney looked at Obama for the majority of the debate, which many people (mostly pro-Obama people, I noticed) pointed out, saying that Obama was addressing the nation as opposed to Romney addressing one man. However, I think that since these are debates, Romney challenging Obama like that was a smart decision because it rattled him, it allowed Romney to go on the offensive and because Obama ended up looking like he didn’t want to engage Romney.
I noticed both leaders used their hands a lot when they spoke and they often clasped them in front of their bodies, two signs of authoritative leaders. Both were respectful to their opponents, although a little more courtesy should have been thrown to poor Jim Lehrer. The biggest difference between the two in tonight’s debate was attitude and passion. Romney spoke quickly and had an urgent tone to his voice while Obama stuttered and stumbled through most of his responses. Romney looked excited and passionate about the issues while Obama talked about figures and facts like a schoolteacher trying to educate an annoying student. He even treated Lehrer that way when he told him “I had five seconds before you interrupted me.” This little quip came off as funny, but there definitely was a hint of frustration behind it.
For the majority of people on Twitter, it seemed that what was being said wasn’t nearly as important as how it was being delivered and in that category, Romney dominated with enthusiasm and a few surprising instances of humor. It may have been because the president was rusty, but Romney seemed to be in peak debate form with crisp and clean responses as opposed to Obama’s long and drawn-out speeches. In basketball or football, if you’re going up against a high-scoring powerhouse, you want to dominate the time of possession and slow down the pace if you want to win, but unfortunately for Obama, that’s not the way to go in a presidential debate. Keep in mind, this is all coming from an independent, which is the big category of people that candidates are trying to win over with these debates. A leader should be enthusiastic and inspire through their passion. Tonight, Obama didn’t even come close to doing that. He provided facts and figures, sure, but their delivery didn’t motivate me to get up off the couch and vote for the president to be reelected. So despite Romney’s “creepy smirk” and the possibility of Big Bird being canned, round one goes to Mittens.
V For Vendetta is a fictional story set in a post-modern England about a futuristic government that has taken complete control over its citizens, ruling with an iron fist. The high chancellor Adam Sutler is the fascist dictator in charge, a horrible man who censors the people, depriving them of their freedom and using terror and violence to keep them in line and obedient. As part of his rise to power, he hired men to round up those considered to be less than pure in Nazi-like concentration camps, where scientists developed a deadly virus, testing it on those in the camps. One man escaped the testing as the labs were enveloped in fire, but the government’s testing was successful, allowing them to unleash it on their own people, plunging the nation into chaos. In that chaos, the people turned to Sutler as their savior before he enslaved them all and ruled with an iron fist.
Meanwhile, the man known as V, who escaped the camp and developed enhanced kinesthetic reflexes and strength, plots his revenge, waiting to kill the members of the political party responsible for all those atrocities. He blows up a political building, overrides the country’s rigged news station, and broadcasts a speech inviting the people to join him in a year to blow up Parliament. V adheres to his ideals of justice and freedom, but also uses his plot as a method of appeasing his vendetta.
V and Leadership:
V is a servant leader who employs questionable methods for the greater good. The ends justify the means because of his tragic and horrific past. He is not a leader because of “listening, empathy or healing” which are key criteria in the bullet point “Reflection” under the category of “servant leader.” However, he does fit the other key criteria of conceptualization and foresight under that category. His precise planning in executing his master plan, even a plan of terror and violence, is perfectly carried out for the good of his people. He embodies an idea, despite the fact that his violent means make him a jaded and miserable person himself.
His integrity is questionable at times, but overall, V is extremely honest. His own values may require violence, but it is only to deal with the drastic tyranny and oppression of the fascist government that made him into a monster in the first place. Drastic times call for drastic measures, but V doesn’t want to take control of the country and he works alone, operating as a solo act to ensure he does not spoil anyone else. He is a visionary with a personal vendetta, but his actions are motivated by his desire for justice and freedom in his country. The third bullet point under “servant leader” is the one that embodies V the most: “passion.” V has an unfailing dedication to his ideals, so much so that he almost sacrifices his own humanity in order to protect and enforce those ideals on a dictatorship that censors its people and dominates them with a history of horrible experimentations, concentration camps, disease and war.
According to Likert’s theory of management styles, V is a participative leader. He doesn’t order people around, he doesn’t consult anyone in constructing his brilliant plan to put the country back in the people’s hands, but he lays all of the groundwork and eventually leaves the final choice of what to do up to one of the common people. He accepts that he must die as part of that old group of people involved with the tragic concentration camps, recognizing that a new generation will be responsible for rebuilding the country. He accepts that he is not part of this generation and that he does not want to take on any role of leadership. He is compromised because of his values and gracefully bows out, leaving the choice of whether or not his plan will be carried out to Evey, one of the common people who will ultimately be instrumental in reshaping the future. Technically, V doesn’t abide by a few standards of the participative leader. He trusts the people will join him in his stand against the government, but he operates alone for the majority of the time. Not because he doesn’t trust the people, but the only violence he wishes to incite is his own. In other words, the blood will be on his hands and the people will get to start over with clean hands if he does not directly involve them until the very end. V recognizes that while the act of blowing up Parliament could be symbolic and ultimately change the world, he leaves the choice to the common people, represented by Evey. V sacrifices everything in the name of the truths he believes in. He believes in free speech, freedom, justice and democracy, as shown best by his speech to the people. Despite his mistakes, his horrible past and his acts of violence and rebellion, V’s actions are justified in the end as Parliament blows up, the deranged party members no longer exist and the people get a chance to start over. V represents more than just a man; he is an ideal. This is why he is a true servant leader: he was willing to sacrifice everything and ultimately die for the ideals he lived by.
Adam Sutler and Leadership:
Sutler is the ultimate example of an exploitative, authoritative leader according to Likert’s Theory of Management Styles. He trusts no one (and for good reason, as he is betrayed by his second-hand man who similarly trusts no one), he is the only decision-maker, his employees work out of fear for their lives and he is condescending and hands down his orders with sarcasm and mistrust.
The film shows frequent scenes of Sutler meeting with his party members as they attempt to censor the “terrorist” V, who is trying to rally the people and get them to realize who bad things have gotten in their country on their own watch. Sutler’s men arrest, torture and kill dissenters, they censor free speech and they want complete control over their citizens, a point made clear throughout the movie. From strictly enforcing a curfew on their citizens to putting famous works of music, art, religion and even items of food like butter on a blacklist, Sutler rules over his people an iron fist.
In the end we see how much of a coward Sutler is facing his death as opposed to V, who greets it with open arms. Although facing death does not necessarily make one a good leader, it’s obvious how weak of a leader Sutler really is when it comes to anything other than enforcing his harsh rule on citizens through others. Sutler is pure evil in the way he set a disease on his own people and killed 100,000 of them, all for the sake of gaining power.
Evey and Leadership:
Evey is not really a leader in the traditional sense for the majority of the movie. But by the end of the film, she is the most important leader of all: a leader of the future. Like V, she is jaded by her horrific past, as her parents were basically killed by the government and her brother was one of the victims poisoned by the disease the government unleashed on its own people. She is captured and tortured by V, who makes her think she is being held prisoner by the government, which happens because she admits she wishes she wasn’t afraid all the time. V does a horrible thing in tricking her and torturing her like that, but Evey is ultimately stronger for it and comes to realize in a memorable scene that V’s ideals are right.
However, Evey differs from V because she never employs serious violence to achieve the goal of overthrowing the government. V’s sacrifice of taking all that violence for himself spares her, which is why V gives the ultimate decision of whether or not to blow Parliament to her. Evey went through the same torture in a concentration camp that V did but she didn’t hold the same vendetta because V spared her from that. Because she is jaded but not tarnished, she joins the rest of her people as an instrumental piece in rebuilding for the future.
Evey employs all three aspects of a servant leader, even if she doesn’t really lead throughout the movie. She listens to V’s tragic tale with empathy and ultimately finds her own personal healing in a memorable scene (“God is in the rain.”). Where she truly leads is when she decides to send off the train that will blow up Parliament. She has the integrity to act on what V and the rest of the people want by sending the train off, allowing her people to start fresh, free from the reign of Sutler and his fascist policies. She has the passion that V instilled in her, which is why she sends the train off in the end. So although Evey follows V’s lead for the majority of the movie, she ultimately makes the biggest decision of the entire film as the perfect leader of the people based on V’s higher ideals.
Throughout this semester in the Humphrey Fellowship I have learned about leadership in multiple contexts. From leadership styles, to servant leadership, to inspiring leaders it has been crazy to see how many actual approaches to leadership there are. Everyone has a different definition of leadership. Everyone has a different style of leadership. Then there are people who doubt that they have what it takes to be a leader.
I felt like I fell somewhere into the spectrum of the followers. I am more shy than most people, I’m introverted, and I really don’t like to be the outspoken character in group interactions. From what I understood about leadership at the beginning of the semester I was not on the path to being a great leader.
But through working on our final leadership paper I found this quote from the Tao Te Ching (chapter 17):
The best leaders are those the people hardly know exist.
The next best is a leader who is loved and praised.
Next comes the one who is feared.
The worst one is the leader that is despised.
If you don’t trust the people,
they will become untrustworthy.
The best leaders value their words, and use them sparingly.
When she has accomplished her task,
the people say, “Amazing:
we did it, all by ourselves!”
This quote was really inspiring to me as an introvert. Here are the lessons i took from it:
- The best leaders are those who lead from the background – this means that a good leader isn’t in front trying to take all the credit, but is someone who is pushing their team into the spotlight and allowing them to be successful.
- The best leaders are those who trust their team – a good leader will have faith in his or her team to accomplish tasks. The leader shouldn’t have to micromanage and do everything for a team to have success.
- The best leaders use words effectively – quiet people can be leaders! It’s not the amount of things that one has to say, but it is more about how valuable those words are that matters.
I sent out several emails to some of my role models in the broadcast industry, particularly in the Phoenix market, for our leadership styles analysis paper. Some are still getting back to me, and a couple of days ago one of my biggest Valley role models responded.
I actually Facebooked Kristin Anderson, one of the anchors and reporters for KSAZ Fox 10 Arizona Morning. She has a heavy social media presence, both on Facebook and Twitter, and I knew I would be able to best reach her this way. When I interned at Fox 10 last spring, she was a friendly presence both in the newsroom and in the field, and I was lucky to shadow her in the field many times. She was a willing leader, and stepped into the role of mentor easily. Kristin had nothing but encouraging and positive words of advice, and thanks to social media I’ve been able to keep in touch with her as she continues to establish herself in Phoenix (she arrived to Arizona Morning in Fall 2010).
My questions for the journalism leaders I interviewed included:
-Who were some of your earliest role models in the industry and out of it?
-How do you define leadership in this industry?
-And what leadership roles have you taken on in the community and in the newsroom?
Kristin is a good example of both a journalism and community leader, and I think I look to her because I am able to relate to her in a variety of ways. Her response to my first question was similar to what mine would have been. She said her dad was her earliest role model, because growing up he made her feel like she could do anything she wanted to do and let her know that she was capable of it, as well. My dad provided this encouragement for me, as well, and as a journalism leader in his own right, showed me that it was possible to go as far as I wanted to when I set my mind to it. These thoughts, in my mind, mirror much of what our goal was in the Legacy Project. We set out to become role models in a way with this project, and I believe we have created something extraordinary that will set the tone for next year’s project, too.
When I asked Kristin about what it means to be a leader in journalism, she responded with the following: “…someone who sets a positive standard professionally and interpersonally. A leader is someone with fresh ideas and continually evolving, always getting better.” This made me think of our setting examples at various events, including the Farm Days event, where we set out to set a positive standard and create a good experience for the children we were volunteering for and with. I agree, too, that a leader is someone with “fresh ideas,” and this brought me back to our Films Presentations, where many groups presented their films in an original way. I particularly think of the School of Rock group, who were well organized and prepared to lead us through their film and its meaning to our particular context.
Lastly, Kristin said that she is fortunate enough to hold a number of leadership roles in the community, but that her favorite is being a mentor to women in the television industry. Having worked with her, I can safely say that she is passionate about her mentorship role, and I think a lot of what I learned about leadership in the newsroom came from working with Kristin and the other strong females in the Fox 10 Arizona Morning newsroom. Likewise, I think this is an important role we can all play in one way or another having taken this class. We learned a lot about leadership from each other and from our own experiences in the Legacy Project and our volunteer projects. These lessons are vital, in my opinion, to our sense of self and our leadership styles.
So I pose the above questions to all of you: what does a journalism leader look like, both in and outside of the newsroom? And what do you think was the most valuable leadership lesson you learned this semester?
It’s been a privilege working with all of you! Thank you for a fantastic semester!
Facebook interview with Kristin Anderson. 26 April 2012.
NFL safety Brian Dawkins retired on Monday. If you don’t follow sports you may never have heard the name. He wasn’t flashy. He was never the face of a franchise. He didn’t have the big endorsement deals. But he was as intense and passionate as any player that has ever played the game of football. What’s even more impressive about Dawkins was this headline that I found, written shortly after his retirement.
He will be remembered for LEADERSHIP.
In an ego driven league, where numbers literally define whether a player is a success or a failure, this is remarkable. It could have been easy to look at the 26 sacks, 37 forced fumbles, 37 interceptions, and 1131 tackles to summarize who Brian Dawkins was. But that’s not the focus of the article. Dawkins was a leader.
He exuded balance, an essential tool to leadership. As the article accurately describes…
“He led by example, but wasn’t afraid to speak up when necessary.”
I had the pleasure of getting to watch Dawkins play in the prime of his career, and I was amazed at the way his intensity fired up his teammates.
“even the people who saw him on television sometimes, while living in Yuma or Utah or Yukon, and saw the way he could simultaneously unite one team while dismembering the other” – Rich Hofmann, Philly.com columnist
I’m glad to see someone from the NFL being remembered for more than just big hits, touchdowns, and wins. Leadership is just as essential to being a success.
Marianne Allison, former executive vice president and chief innovation officer at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, likened leadership in public relations to a daily testament to the serenity prayer.Her words and the serenity prayer concept, more than any other leadership style examined before, struck me as being the most appropriate manifestation of leadership – and truly the most accurate definition of what I want my personal style to be. In Allison’s mind, effective leaders have the vision and foresight to acknowledge those things that are or are not in the realm of their control, the fearlessness to approach what they can change and the ability to perceive the difference.
Wow. What a perfect concept to encapsulate my own personal thoughts on leadership! Since hearing Allison’s metaphor, I approach every day with a new sense of confidence and personal peace. Whenever life presents me with challenges that seem beyond my control, I ask myself for the strength and patience to get me through. I have learned to address those things that I can control, and to stop worrying so excessively about the things that I cannot.
Allison’s association is no different than Covey’s version of prioritization or Buckley’s systematic scheduling – it’s just a different lens for looking at a similar leadership framework. But for me, the serenity prayer is such a familiar thing that her metaphor resinates with me.