Saturday, February 1, 2020

Position Paper Contrarian's Guide to Leadership Essay

Position Paper Contrarian's Guide to Leadership - Essay Example Traditionally, leaders have been evaluated on the basis of their charisma, attitude, and ability. That is the "boxed-in", prevailing mindset society harbors when quantifying leadership. However, more contemporary views see leadership as the end result of a dynamic interaction between leader and follower, a "collaborative endeavor" between those embroiled in the process (Rost, 1993:12) However we may define leadership, what is infinitely clear is the fact that society has these preconceived notions about what a "good" leader should be. There are some though, who offer a differing perspective on the concept of leadership. In "The Contrarian's Guide To Leadership", Steven Sample argues that leadership is not necessarily measured in black and white. Better known as the current president of the University of Southern California, Sample dissects traditional leadership "values" and professes that leadership is a dynamic, unpredictable entity that is context-dependent and evolving. In line with today's rapidly changing times, leadership can no longer be limited to the predictability and rigidity of the past. Not to detract anything from past leaders of historical lore, but just because one was successful in a different era does not necessarily translate into success in the current one. The dictates of contemporary society need leaders who are flexible, and are not bound by a certain mode of thinking. These are the individuals who will react to situations objectively and creatively, and will use original ideas in asserting their independence en route to solving relevant problems and issues. The aforementioned constitute the hallmarks of the aptly termed "contrarian" perspective of leadership. According to Sample (2002), the contrarian perspective "doesn't mean counter to all conventional wisdom. Indeed, much of it is true. But, you can't become an effective leader by trying to mimic a famous leader of the past. So, you can't develop your full leadership potential, or even fully appreciate the art of leadership by slavishly adhering to conventional wisdom. The key is to break free, if only fleetingly" (p.1) Adopting a contrarian approach ensures that one is looking at things from a fresh and highly adaptable point of view, one that will bode well for the challenges of today. At the forefront of the contrarian framework lies the concept of "thinking gray". Leaders who adopt this maintain their independence by "thinking free" and refusing to think like the people surrounding them. For instance, conventional wisdom dictates that good, efficient leaders make rash, impulsive, and hopefully brilliant decisions. On the other hand, contrarian wisdom offers that leaders should deliberately weigh all sides to an issue, hence arriving at a highly objective, thorough and carefully thought out decision. By nature, people would usually look at things in binary terms - black and white, right or wrong, true or false, et. al. It must be put into consideration though that there will always be "gray" areas somewhere along the point of contention. Nothing can be truly quantified as being absolutely true or absolutely false; there is always something that can be further perused and dissected in order to

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