Leadership Definitions, Who Cares? LO17986

John P. Dentico (jdentico@adnc.com)
Tue, 05 May 1998 05:50:29 -0700

Good Day to All,

I can just see the furled eyebrows!! What you say, isn't this the guy who
made such a big deal about trait theory, Great Man and situational as
well. Hmmm, is this some sort of trick? Maybe!

You know I have really enjoyed the discourse about leadership, and the
contributions made by those who have participated, I have learned from all
who have written and all who have made comments no matter what their
thinking or feeling about leadership. I guess from time to time, I ask
myself ok, so who cares? I do this because it acts as a check and balance
on my own thinking and the thinking of others.

What occurred to me most recently when I asked this question was sort of a
reminder to be about leadership and why I got in this business. With all
the discussions on here, including my own, I am forced again to ask WHO
CARES? I think leadership will be a very personal interpretation to many,
the theories really don't account for much to a goodly majority of folks,
and I think leadership will be to many what they want it to be.

That is, of course, unless you have to come with something that works! I
mean really works, and that is why I Care!

To me, leadership at its most basic core element is about mobilizing
people to do something difficult. (Notice I did not say motivate, I want
this basic element to be as basic as possible and mobilization has no
inherent baggage associated with the term motivation. As far as I am
concerned motivating comes a bit later in my thought process)

Ok, so now how do we best mobilize people to do! If you agree with this
statement, I think by its very nature, reduces the idea that leadership is
more about being than doing to a simple understanding. Human development
is more about being, leadership is about doing.

Oh yes, let me add another phrase about mobilizing people. Mobilizing
people to do something difficult in a world filled with rapid complex
change, turbulence and ambiguity, information overload, diversity of
perspectives and where people are searching for significant intrinsic
satisfaction from the work that they do, or said another way in their
engagement with life.

Now this is not a pedestrian issue.

Ok, so show me something that works. Something that causes people to be
motivated to do, to engage life, and to do something difficult. Now where
does trait, great man/woman, contingency, path-goal, situational and
excellence theory fit it. I really don't think they do. The reason is
simple the aforementioned theories really don't consider the follower or
collaborator/partner as I like to call them into the dynamic as a full on
participant. A dynamic which requires the involvement of many diverse
perspectives into a rich decisional environment where the whole is greater
than the sum of the parts, and where all are acting in harmony to achieve
something difficult. Harmony not group think.

We need something that works, unless we choose to be like Nero, who
fiddles while Rome burns. And from where I sit, there are many fires in
"Rome" that need attention. Aids, Cancer Research, Community Policing,
Failing Organizations, continued lay offs and down sizing, crime, kids
with guns, loss of clients, you name it we can include it, so what can
bring the fires under control? A concerted effort by the concerned
community who have chosen to take up the cause to do leadership. To
engage the issues and life with the fullest intention of making a
difference, and in so doing reaching everything from a higher state of
consciousness to self actualization, to a renewed sense of self, not
because they had achieved that BEFORE they joined the fray and got
involved in a leadership dynamic but only after they had served a greater
sense of community. This is what I think Burns was driving at when he
spoke of transformational leadership as "raising one another to a higher
state of motivation and morality."

To me, leadership is a "come as you are" party. Show up, do, engage life,
be part of creating a new tomorrow. You don't have to be perfect just
show up.

Leadership, Who Cares? I DO! I hope you will too!

Have a great day.


John P. Dentico
P.O. Box 6305
San Diego, CA 92166-0305
619-226-0547 ph., Office
619-300-3080--Cell, pager, Voice Mail
619-523-3068 Fax



"John P. Dentico" <jdentico@adnc.com>

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