Leadership Without Easy Answers

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Ronald A. Heifetz is well versed in leadership issues. Once a psychiatrist, he is now the director of the Leadership Education Project at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He founded the Center for Public Leadership where he is the “King Hussein bin Talal Senior Lecturer” (“Harvard Kennedy School”, n.d.). Much of the leadership experience poured into Leadership Without Easy Answers is primarily derived from Heifetz’ work in Washington, D.C. observing the political leadership structures of the entire nation. This gives him a unique perspective of leadership insight into higher-ranking structures of the leader-follower relationship and the extent of the effects of leader’s actions and decisions. Heifetz uses this unique perspective as a strength in his book to explicitly discuss the roles of leaders as change agents, the preparation of followers to adapt, and the delicate balance required of leaders as they open the pathways for an adaptive process. He highlights leaders’ victories and failures in specific instances through case scenarios that provide a foundation for studying the adaptive model. In Leadership Without Easy Answers, Heifetz focuses primarily on the duty of leaders to use problems and build the adaptive capacity of their followers (“Harvard Kennedy School”, n.d.). He addresses the critical need for a new leader-follower relationship. In light of his extended experiences with leader-follower relationships, Heifetz suggests a course of action of adaptive leadership that breaks the mold of the traditional view of leadership. Heifetz divides Leadership Without Easy Answers neatly into four main sections. In Part I, Setting the Frame, Heifetz introduces the fundamental values in leadership. I... ... middle of paper ... ...acity for tackling an ongoing stream of hard problems. The point is not to foster dependency but to counteract the inappropriate dependency on authority that distress tends to produce in adaptive situations” (Heifetz, 1994, p. 247). The leadership prescriptives presented by Heifetz have clear applications for leaders. Heifetz recognizes, however that the task he has set before leaders may in fact be a difficult on to achieve. He states that “the hardest and most valuable task of leadership may be advancing goals and designing strategy that promote adaptive work” (Heifetz, 1994, p. 23). Works Cited Harvard Kennedy School - Ronald Heifetz. (n.d.). Retrieved May 13, 2010, from http://www.hks.harvard.edu/about/faculty-staff-directory/ronald-heifetz Heifetz, R. (1994). Leadership without easy answers. Cambridge Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
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