Monday, December 5, 2011

Leadership Themes

Important ideas from

Leaders define leadership: Discourses of leadership within an academic leadership development center,
Brenda L. Berkelaar, Elizabeth A. Williams, Jennifer S. Linvill
Submission to International Communication Association, Annual Conference,
Chicago, IL, May 21-25, 2009
Paper available from

1. Autonomy

Discourse of autonomy is present in discussions about leadership. Autonomy centers on the notion of each person’s ability to self-govern independent of his or her context. That is each person is being or can be driven by the desires, characteristics and conditions that are part of one’s authentic self (Christman, 2003; Schneewind, 1998). The autonomy Discourse identifies leader as a competent, self-regulating, moral and qualified individual with the capacity to maximize changes in the world around him or her. Leaders are excellent individual contributors. They, are “adaptable,” possess “expertise,” “intelligence,” and “social” or “emotional intelligence,” are “excellent communicators,” and “humble.” Their individual quest for success can often manifest to the extreme, since leadership and leaders are often “lonely" in their endeavor to realize the vision.

2. Relatedness

An excellent achiever will not become a leader unless he practices behavior appropriate to relations with persons around him.

Successful leaders are autonomous individuals who direct their talents, traits, and expertise towards engaging and employing others towards a common goal.

3. Self awareness

Self-awareness is an explicit understanding of one’s self as an individual, including traits, characteristics, strengths, weaknesses, motivations, morals, and goals among other things.

Self-reflection and introspection were necessary for self-definitions and identification and development of talents, skills, competence, and authenticity.

4. Communication

Leaders have to listen, understand and make meaning for their followers.

"A leader is a person who can really integrate ideas, frame them in a way that makes sense for different constituencies and stakeholders, who is able to listen to a variety of perspectives and acknowledge them in some way."

5. Vision

Leaders imagine and engage others in the pursuit of a better collective future.

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