The Politics of Leadership

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The Politics of Leadership

The Politics of Leadership

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Politicians often receive specific training on expression or rhetorical techniques for going up on stage to give a speech or going on a television interview. This is based on the premise that a leader goes on stage a few times a day or a week, and then “turns off” the communication mode to continue with their rational tasks. But today, the political leader is in permanent communication mode—always exposed—and for that, he needs to prepare differently. Understanding the world of sports provides insight into what it takes to perform at the highest levels, even in other fields. Looking at the political experience from the person’s perspective—the individual’s perspective—and not just from the ideological, intellectual, or institutional perspective allowed me to see that there were many tools available that were not being leveraged and that could be very useful. I also saw that there were new realities that required new approaches. Clearly, leadership must be understood to involve more than the exercise of formal authority. It must also be understood as a critical element in the process by which authority is both created and sustained (Weaver 1991, 161). The “office holder” may not be the locus of leadership in a social structure. A concern with leadership qua power and authority in formal organizations effectively diverts attention from the structures and processes of informal power and authority and, therefore, leadership within those organizations or in other social structures (Weaver 1991, 162). Leadership must involve more than performing an office; it must define and be defined “by virtue of intricate reciprocities of behavior and perceptions” (Weaver 1991, 162). 1 will repeat here a position that I have made before that “leadership is a generically political role that has something important to do with initiative in the definition, articulation, and/or authoritative allocation of values in any social construct” (Weaver 1991,162) . An old, apocryphal riddle asks “What is the difference between a politician and a statesman?” and is answered with the observation that “a statesman is a politician with whom one agrees.” So too, with most students of leadership, “a nonleader is anyone who acts the same as a leader except that we disagree with her or him in some significant way.”

In sports, the coach plays an important role, as does the producer with artists. The role of political advisers may come to mind in association with politics, but it is not the same. Politicians’ advisers and personal staff concentrate on matters related to strategies, public policies, communication, or management, among other topics. But it is not their task to deal with the leader in his personal dimension. Clearly, any effort to understand leadership faces daunting problems. Both the virtue and the vice in the way of thinking which has been suggested in this article lies in its generally objective attitude; it does not immediately help us to discover the secrets of how to lead but it may hold some promise for helping us to see why and how all leadership processes take form and, thus, allow us to ask better questions. Hopefully, it will help bring leadership study more prominently into the range of vision of social and political scientists. The institutional design of the state and political organizations is old and obsolete, making it difficult to think about this different type of leadership. The very architecture of government buildings reflects a culture not even from the twentieth century, but often from the nineteenth century or earlier. All the symbols of power that continue to be used, especially in the international relations protocol, are in dissonance with a world that has advanced to another place. The current leadership model is pompous, vertical, cold, and distant. Presidents spend many hours and days in ceremonies that are often seen by citizens as archaic and somewhat ridiculous dances.Leaders uphold the supporters by gathering the authoritative assets and helping them achieve their undertakings as per principles of execution. Building the Team Spirit:

With few notable exceptions, such as James MacGregor Burns’s Leadership (1978), attempts to pursue an explicit understanding of the political nature of leadership have been conspicuously absent from the literature. Effectively, Bums saw leadership as a sociopolitical process enacted by individuals in interaction with others, but even he seemed focused on leadership in public politics rather than on the politics in leadership. (Or at least, Bums seems to have been convinced that the most meaningful forms of leadership are those that operate at the highest levels of public politics.) As Murrell suggests, studying the “social context for leadership allows for research and theory building to go well beyond just the leader-follower exchange relationship” and allows us to look into “the whole process by which social systems change and to see the socially constructed roles and relationships developed that might be labeled leadership” by putting the emphasis of study “squarely on the human processes of how people decide, act and present themselves to each other” (Murrell 1997, 39). Seeing a group or organization as a sociopolitical system also is to see them as communities but this does not fit easily into traditional, conventional frames of reference. It is not easy to get past conventional assumptions about hierarchy, ownership, and relationships which tend to take authority and position for granted. This paper seeks to make an effective contribution to how we think about democratic political leadership and also to share personal insight as a politician so that other politicians and leaders can use it as a reference and think about how much they are taking care of themselves. Doing so can contribute to finding solutions for the legitimacy crisis that our democracies are experiencing due to a disconnect with social expectations and demands. This paradigm shift is already occurring in other fields of society, and taking it to the political arena will make the task of those in charge of solving the great problems we face more effective. Verba, S. 1961. Small Groups and Political Behavior: A Study of Leadership. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. The crisis of political representation is not a problem of demand—understood as what citizens expect from leaders—but rather a problem stemming from the difficulties of the leaders. That is why we should rethink the leadership model. We need to prepare our politicians not only in ethical and moral values and in management capabilities, but also in understanding the world. We must also help them to fully know themselves; take care of themselves; and prepare mentally, emotionally, and physically for the hyper-demanding task of ruling without losing touch with their humanity, thus reducing the risk of Hubris Syndrome.When in a senior leadership position, this problem can become dramatic since it is entirely up to the leader how he will use his cell phone. Often, it can end up working as an antianxiety agent, and thus end up enhancing disconnection and stress. As mentioned in the leadership definition, being a leader is practicing the art of influence. CEOs don’t gain followers because they’re at the top of the organizational food chain. Customers’ and employees’ respect, admiration, and loyalty are earned based on how well a person serves them. Robertson, P., and S. Tang. 1995. The Role of Commitment in Collective Action: Comparing the Organizational Behavior and Rational Choice Perspectives. Public Administration Review. 55:67-80. Teams also show us counterexamples, where egos and individualities tolerate each other, but clearly convey that there is no such sense of shared belonging. The similarities with the realities of political forces are very clear when viewed from this lens. We should also think of a more collective and group dimension to leadership, understanding that we should not expect a single person to effectively manage so much complexity. We should look at the models of groups, teams, and orchestras, where there is someone who leads more like a coordinator of a team of peers, not as a messianic leader. This leadership model can lead us to a breakthrough in thinking of ways for the electoral political supply to rest not on a single person, but rather on teams that put shared work as a value before society.

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