The Way of Flexibility: A Model of Leadership Essay

The Way of Flexibility: A Model of Leadership Essay

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The Way of Flexibility: A Model of Leadership

?Make sure that any model you do have is compatible with traditional wisdom: Admire the wise of all religions.?
          -John Heider, ?The Tao of Leadership?

     Much work has gone into studying, researching, and developing models of leadership. Many models have been put forth, examined, applied, and either used or discarded. Yet, for all this work, there is still not one 'perfect' model or method of leading. Every group and situation is different, and a good leader must be flexible. The best model of leadership is one that incorporates different models into one paradigm that understands that the only constant is change. Therefore, my model of leadership will be based primarily upon flexibility.

     Leadership, then, is like gymnastics. It takes a certain degree of physical or mental flexibility to be effective at either. Someone can not simply declare ?I am a flexible leader? any easier than you or I could do a leg split. It must be worked up to, and one must recognize the different skills that need to be worked upon in order to accomplish anything.

     I propose that a leader must first understand the basic styles of leadership and how to apply them. Then he/she can know what style is the most appropriate given the task and group composition. Second, he/she must be able to observe his/her group in order to decide when the aforementioned styles are to be applied, and when problems begin threatening the group or its task. Then, that leader must be able to effectively communicate and influence his/her followers in order to fix problems, provide feedback, and inspire a group to be more than the sum of its parts. That is what effective leadership is about.

     ?Whatever is flexible and flowing will tend to grow. Whatever is rigid and blocked will atrophy and die.?

-John Heider, ?The Tao of Leadership?

     Much of what is covered in chapter 2 of ?Leadership: A Communication Perspective? has been introduced to me before in a wide variety of classes. The styles of leadership, as well as Theory X and Theory Y, are so basic that no model of leadership is complete without being based or at least touching upon these valuable concepts, so I will begin building my model of leadership here.

     A flexible leader realizes the advantages and disadvantages inherent in each of the three styl...

... middle of paper ...

...nd a few other experiences like this have led me to believe in the old adage that you attract more flies with honey than with vinegar.

?The group is not a final examination for a college course. The wise leader knows that the reward for doing the work arises naturally out of the work.?
-John Heider, ?The Tao of Leadership?

     It is my hope that I have developed a competent model of leadership arising out of a doctrine of flexibility. I hope that I can apply this model in my own practices of leadership, to help me build the confidence I need to grow out of my leadership apprehension. I feel that an understanding of the group process, and of the styles of leadership, working together, can provide one with a very powerful method of effective, flexible leadership that can be applied to multiple groups and situations. First, by learning the styles of leadership, he makes harmony between himself and the group. When understands how the group acts and reacts, he can make harmony between the members of the group. And when this leader understands how to influence and conduct his followers, they can both begin to play beautiful music that no one would have been able to play alone.

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