Authoritarianism versus leadership

Authoritarianism versus leadership

Dear Editor,

It is difficult to come to terms with recent decision-making and the ramifications thereof. More often than not, the pronouncements have been ill-informed, deficient of any analytical process.

There is this underlying misconception, indeed self-deception, that authority translates into relevantly good judgment. This display of authoritarianism excludes the real possibility of there being others who know much better of the subject under examination.

Also, the arrogance inherent in such misbehaviour too often reflects the indifference of the decision-maker to the broader historicity of the situation on which he or she pontificates.

There is but minimal awareness exhibited of the perceived attitude to, and indulgence in, the ‘command mode’ being archaic, and indeed long since replaced by behaviours which speak eloquently to a proactive ‘leadership style’, which consistently recognises all the players as equals, while setting an example of humility that reflects self-confidence in the first instance and critically, incites trust in the process.

In his book ‘Reinventing Organisations’ the author Frederic Laloux offers the following: “… asking for advice is an act of humility, which is one of the most important characteristics of a fun workplace. The act alone says ‘I need you’. The decision-maker and the adviser are pushed into a closer relationship … this makes it nearly impossible for the decision-maker to simply ignore advice”.

Further on, Laloux reminds of having to live with the consequences of the decision – a reality which must always be taken into account. And about ‘Trust’, among other things, Laloux strongly advises: “Create workplaces that not only employ people but honour the soul in the process”.

As a long experienced practitioner and Adviser in human resources management and organisational development, at the highest level across the Caricom Region, the writer can confidently attest to the actual value of LaLoux’ advice; and indeed also revel in the carefully constructed series of advice given by Jim Collings in his highly acclaimed ‘Good to Great’, where his research examined the managerial attributes that differentiated the ‘great’ corporate leaders from the ‘good’ ones. Identified once again was the factor of humility!

Once more, but hardly the final observation, was the following: “But leadership is equally about creating a climate where the truth is heard … there is a huge difference between the opportunity of ‘having your say’ and the opportunity to be heard … this distinction, creating a culture wherein people have a tremendous opportunity to be heard and, ultimately, for the truth to be heard.”

Yours faithfully,

E. B. John


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