On leadership Written by John W. Gardner

analytical Essay
1123 words
1123 words

“On leadership” was written by John W. Gardner (The Free Press, New York, 1990). He used seventeen chapters to explain and describe essential components for the leadership should be in a successful organization. This book not only has significant influence now, but also for the future. Below are my understanding about this book, which was divided into two parts. For the first part, I will pick up some perspectives which influence me most from this book. For the second part, which is my comments and critique about this book.

Part one: Literature review

First of all, in the first Chapter, he made a clear definition about leadership. He wrote, “Leadership is the process of persuasion or example by which an individual induces a group to pursue objectives held by the leader and his followers.” In this precise sentence, he pointed that four indispensable parts in one organization: leader, team member, target, belief. He regarded leader doesn’t refer to an individual, but the leadership team, because no individual has all the skills to solve different difficulties.

Secondly, in Chapter 2 and 3, Gardner pointed out that, “the relationship between leaders and followers varies from one culture to another.” He thought there existing the role exchange between leader and followers. He used a simple example to illustrate this point, which is a professor would be a follower in community affairs, and he also would be a leader in a particular academic area. Because Gardener though that “follower” is too passive, so he used “constituent” instead of “follower”. Gardener strongly thought that “good constituents tend to produce good leaders.” In the rest of this book, Gardener mainly focus on three tasks, ...

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... leaders must, to use a time-worn phrase, “walk the talk” are essential to catalyzing that motivation.

Sixthly, John Gardner’s goal is not to prop up institutions or “merely” deliver excellent products and services; it is The Release of Human Possibilities. That release requires positive attitudes toward the future through tough-minded optimism even in the most troubled of times, delivered with confidence, great expectations and powered by the will to act.

Part two: Comment and Critique

On leadership is a book which deserve to be read by us. Although this book use a precise formation to help us to examine a widely comprehensive aspects of the leadership, there are some drawbacks. Gardner cited different examples to talk about leadership, but just in a particular area, that is political area. So,

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that john w. gardner's book "on leadership" has significant influence now, but also for the future.
  • Explains gardner's focus on networking, resolving conflict, coalition building, networks of responsibility, and impact on elected officials in chapter 10.
  • Explains gardner's view that organizations need to keep renewing systems or face a heavy price loss. gardner reviewed the young and old organizations, process of maturing, continuity and change, the trance of nonrenewal, steps toward renewal, and the leaders' need for renewal.
  • Opines that gardner's book on leadership has some drawbacks. gardner cited different examples to talk about leadership, but just in a particular area, that is political.
  • Explains gardner's definition of leadership in the first chapter, and the relationship between leaders and followers varies from culture to culture.
  • Analyzes how gardner used chapter 14 and 15 of his book to talk about leadership development from its early stages through lifelong growth, and emphasizes "outside the classroom" development.
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