Leadership Quote of the Day

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Presentation from TED


Check out the above link for a perspective on Education and Creativity

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Hope of Leadership

As a new year approaches and I think about leadership I am reminded of the words of Burns and Bennis.

James MacGregor Burns acidly stated, "Leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth" (van Mart 2003). Another particularly eminent scholar--Warren Bennis--came to the same conclusion in the mid-1980s: "Never have so many labored so long to say so little," and "leadership is the most studied and least understood topic of any in the social sciences" (Bennis and Nanus 1985).

These scholars make a valid point but, it is not one to despair over. I believe as long as there are scholars/practitioners/ leaders the concept of leadership will continue to grow and expand in understanding. With globalization and increase interaction of cultures, the concept of leadership has increase in understanding, thus we have the birth of Multifaceted Leadership Theory/ Awakened Leadership, a concept of leadership that encompasses other styles and capacities of leadership, such as Autocratic Leadership, Laissez -Faire Leadership and Democratic Leadership. (Marques 2006) Additionally, an Awaken Leader is tuned into Servant Leadership and understands how to apply and when to apply the precepts of servant leadership (Marques 2006). Thus what I see is a dynamic system that grows as one gains understanding of his or her environment and as the environment increase or decreases in scope and scale. So, I will not lament over Burns’ and Bennis’ perspective, but instead I will view the study of leadership as a challenge and voyage in an uncharted continent that is filled with unexplored lands and mysteries. And, with a scholar/practitioner/ leader model my exploration will be an enlighten journey.

Also, with the new year new leaders are moving upon the state, President - Elect Barack Obama.


Bennis, W., and Nanus B. (1985). Leaders: Strategies for Taking Charge. New York: Harper and Row.

Marques, J. A . (2006, Aug) . AWAKENED LEADERSHIP: ANCIENT PRACTICE GOING HIP. Performance Improvement . 45.(7). pg.35

van Wart, M (2003, March/April). Public-Sector Leadership Theory: An Assessment. Public Administration Review. 63 (2). p214-228

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Social Person Leadership vs. Scientific Leadership and Management

Social person leadership approach is focus upon the person as the chief factor in organizational operations. Theorist such as Clair E. Turner, (1890 – 1974) professor of biology and public health at MIT, would assert that reduced fatigue of employee as a result rest periods were not the result of increase output, instead the rest period gave the employees greater opportunities for social interaction and improved mental attitudes which then translates into improved and increased performance (Wren 2005). Scientific leadership and management on the other hand seeks to control or direct a process while social person approach looks at and deals with the person instead of making the focal point the process. In the earlier example of Turner, he equaled the rise of output to the following factors (Turner 1933):

1. the small group
2. the type of supervision
3. increased earnings
4. the novelty of the experiment
5. attention given to the test room operators

In summation, the social person approach deals with the individual and his or her motivates which has lead to the creation of a major pillar of understanding for others motives, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need which incudes the following:

Physiological Needs
These are biological needs. They consist of needs for oxygen, food, water, and a relatively constant body temperature. They are the strongest needs because if a person were deprived of all needs, the physiological ones would come first in the person's search for satisfaction.

Safety Needs
When all physiological needs are satisfied and are no longer controlling thoughts and behaviors, the needs for security can become active. Adults have little awareness of their security needs except in times of emergency or periods of disorganization in the social structure (such as widespread rioting). Children often display the signs of insecurity and the need to be safe.

Needs of Love, Affection and Belongingness
When the needs for safety and for physiological well-being are satisfied, the next class of needs for love, affection and belongingness can emerge. Maslow states that people seek to overcome feelings of loneliness and alienation. This involves both giving and receiving love, affection and the sense of belonging.

Needs for Esteem
When the first three classes of needs are satisfied, the needs for esteem can become dominant. These involve needs for both self-esteem and for the esteem a person gets from others. Humans have a need for a stable, firmly based, high level of self-respect, and respect from others. When these needs are satisfied, the person feels self-confident and valuable as a person in the world. When these needs are frustrated, the person feels inferior, weak, helpless and worthless.

Needs for Self-Actualization
When all of the foregoing needs are satisfied, then and only then are the needs for self-actualization activated. Maslow describes self-actualization as a person's need to be and do that which the person was "born to do." "A musician must make music, an artist must paint, and a poet must write." These needs make themselves felt in signs of restlessness. The person feels on edge, tense, lacking something, in short, restless. If a person is hungry, unsafe, not loved or accepted, or lacking self-esteem, it is very easy to know what the person is restless about. It is not always clear what a person wants when there is a need for self-actualization.


Turner, C. E. (1933). “Test Room Studies in Employee Effectiveness” American Journal of Public Health, 23, 577 – 584.

Wren, D. A. (2005). The History of Management Thought 5th ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. p. 283

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Two Insightful Observations and their impact on Leadership

Mencius, Chinese philosopher and pupil of Confucius, said, "Men must be decided on what they will not do, and then they are able to act with vigor in what they ought to do (p.61).” and

Plautus, Roman comic playwright asserted, “Patience is the best remedy for every trouble (p. 63).”

From these two great thinkers, one can see and understand that becoming a leader is a continuous process of understanding and expansion of vision, skills, talents and experiences. Leadership obtainment is not a static position, but instead it is a fluid state of being that changes with perspective, be one a follower or a leader within a organization. Additionally, leadership is a series of decisions of what one or an organization is not and being patience in the process of making the decision.

With Mencius and Plautus words in mind, One can stand with a greater appreciation of the need and the importance of patience. Additionally one stand admonished on the need to develop a patience operational outlook towards one's environment and even of self. Leadership is not a is a rush but, instead it is a life long learning experience that can provide one with the opportunity to merge knowledge and wisdom into a state of operation that enriches not just one but many different individuals or an organization.

Patterson, J. (Ed.). (2003). Ancient Wisdom, Timeless Truths : Immortal Philosophers Discuss the Meaning of Life. New York: Barnes and Noble Books