Non-western Theories of Leadership -- Thank you LO25569

From: Ray E. Harrell (mcore@IDT.NET)
Date: 11/01/00

Replying to LO25561 --


Being non-Western in training and culture but working in the arts of
Europe and America, I have found the issues to be the use of time, space,
language, affect and structure.

For time and space, the best writer either Western or of those other
cultures of which I am familiar is Edward T. Hall with his extensive study
of both time and proximics. In particular the exploration of monochronic
and polychronic modalities in leadership and communication. The most all
around explanation is found in his book the Dance of Life but all of his
books are wonderful.

Second to that would be the structural evaluations of Clifford Geertz with
his book "Local Knowledge" helping define the parameters of Western
perceptual leadership.

Thirdly I would recommend the writings of John N. Warfield for his clarity
on the issues of leadership failure due to a lack of competence. As
Warfield states,

there is "no complexity for one who knows how to solve the problem." It
is Warfield's study and exploration of pedagogy in the "Great University"
which I find to be a very cogent description of leadership. He has also
worked transculturally in defining the issues and that takes him beyond
the the Western Rim in his explorations. I have found all three writers
to be wonderful translators of non-Western models into modern Western

Ultimately we define leadership as communication and that begins from the
individual's use of language in all of its modalities before it becomes a
part of the ensemble. For a Western study of some of this basically
non-Western thought process you have, of course Senge's basic book but if
you don't know Donald Schön's Reflective Practitioner books I would
recommend them.

In a couple of lectures at Columbia that I gave a few years ago I pointed
out the Native American roots of his structures which confused some but
gratified the non-Western students who had felt mis- understood by the
bulk of the class. I was later gratified to hear that they had taken the
ball and run with it in their Ph. D. dissertations.

In my work, leadership is based in the holistic term "diction" and begins
with the person who is responsible for leadership. I would stress that
this is probably found everywhere but this particular way of looking at it
comes from (a.) my Cherokee culture and (b.) my training as a performing
artist, as a conductor and in performing arts education.

Diction breaks down into individual and ensemble communication. How one
uses and manifests these elements is how one creates the respect and trust
necessary for the ensemble to follow the leader, especially if the leader
knows the answer but the others do not. The issue of salary and perks
that salve the savage beast of labor in regular business does not exist in
most performing arts situations. If you do not have the competance you
are demeaned and even ignored. The basic elements of "Diction" are:

1. the above mentioned use of time and space. This creates two types of
leaders. A. the tyrant (Western) or B. the chief (consensus). The tyrant
is linear and the chief is non-linear or more accurately multi-linear in
time. Space & time are elements of communication in both instances.

"Ignorance is the night of the mind, a night without moon or star."

2. Stress: or the choice of language within basic meaning and context.
You could say, as in semiotics, Denotative and Connotative uses of primary
language. This is first in basic oral communication and second, done in
code when applied to written communication. You try to create a unique
style of communication path that creates a sense of bonding amongst the
team. A D/C grid can literally create thousands of ways unique pathways
of communication. This is a powerful element of the leader's uniqueness
that stimulates belief from his ensemble or audience. It is also a tiger
with great complexity. Only Masters can use this grid very effectively.

"We are what we repeatedly do. excellence then is not an act, but a
habit." Aristotle

3. Awareness: an enlightened use of the modalities of the language.
English for example has three: Polite, Familiar and Vulgar. The meaning
of the communication is effected by which form you choose to use. Shit
doesn't mean the same in English as Merde does in French and listening to
Scandinavians use English vulgarity in the polite mode is interesting and
totally wrong! It is the awareness of these structures and how they flow
through Western languages that makes the leadership understood and have
integrity. In our structures, we often claim that we do not have the
vulgar or even familiar but it is just accounted for in another way. When
we deal with European Americans we are forced to tear our structures apart
and re-assemble them with conscious awareness or the work suffers.

"Governments want to control your language because that's how you control
thought, which is basically the game they are in." George Carlin

4. Tone & Trigger: Indian people are very aware of phonetics, or the tone
used by the speaker as well as meaning on a morphemic level. Since I was
forbidden to speak my language in the reservation school, I learned to
speak English with a native accent and morphemic usage. It effects
everything thing I say and makes reading English by French and German
people more easy than for my European American colleagues. The Oriental
affect for leaders is still strangely familiar but slightly off for me
personally. Hall helped some in his descriptions of their doing Western
monochronic forms in a polychronic context, which means for me coming
through several filters. This creates a generality but is usually too
general for the specifics to make the work efficient. I get the gist but
I'm still not very good at it due to the time involved. I'm afraid my
oriental colleagues have to work harder for me because of the economic
arts issues here that create time binds and make me just a bit rude.
Something I'm would prefer to fix. The mastering of Tone and Trigger or
phonetics and morphemics is particularly tough in English because to do so
is more verb oriented while English is more noun-object structured.
Americans don't assemble words as carefully in English as some other
groups do with their compound words made up of strings of morphemes
attached to the verb. For this reason Indian people tend to relate very
well to the local psycho linguists who structurally think more like us.

As a performing arts teacher I find that my EA student artists are less
disciplined around Tone & Trigger than my foreign students. They tend to
think it too "intellectual" while for others it is a natural part of the
way they think. I emphasize that analysis of a script of artistic work
requires competence in this area as well as Stress and Awareness which
they find more "natural."

"Before the beginning of great brilliance, there must be chaos." I Ching

5. Music: This is the ensemble structure of communication that
disseminates what the individual leader has been organizing. It has its
own version of the above and must be integrated with the life of both
leader and team members. To do so creates respect, belief, trust and
sacrifice. Or as Sarah Bernhardt put it:

"Life begets life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that
one becomes rich."

Add to that, making it relevant down to the seventh generation and you
have a lot of what my culture has given to me as well.

Ray Evans Harrell, artistic director
The Magic Circle Opera Repertory Ensemble, Inc. wrote:

> A number of you have asked me to compile a list of the references I
> received re: non-western learning theories. I will try and do so as soon
> as work lets up a bit. Harriett.


"Ray E. Harrell" <>

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