Leadership LO11318

Michael McMaster (Michael@kbddean.demon.co.uk)
Sun, 8 Dec 1996 05:24:05 +0000

Ben has previously expressed interest in leadership (or the possibilities
of it's lack) and there have been previous threads on leadership on this

I want to share a perspective which Ben's questions and statements and
some of my recent work have generated. This perspective is FOR leadership
and considers it important but NOT in the ways that I find common.

First, I have use "to lead" as an active verb that has only to do with
self-expression and courage. This is adapted from the old Scottish
Dictionary "to show by going first". This does not imply anything about
power or authority. It does not say anything about "followers" even
occurring. I speaks to having the courage of one's own being.

However, what I want to address here is leadership as a phenomenon in
corporations. I find it is a sad missing in the above sense - formal
leaders who lack courage and originality or even apparent "being" in their
formal position.

The missing that strikes me is one that I'll relate to the idea of
"attractors". I've borrowed the term from chaos theory but transformed it
so that it refers to "designed and intentional forces of attraction for
intelligent beings". (This operational definition was made up for this
post, I like it, and I'll use it for some time to come.)

In this way of thinking, an organisation needs "attractors" or, as Murray
Gell-Mann might call them, selection criteria. What does it need these
for? To support the incredibly important ability of indpendent,
intelligent beings to use that intelligence to forward common but remote
ends where the appropriate action is not obvious.

One way of considering leaders in organisations is to see them as
"attractors". That is, as attractive examples of "being" which help other
independently intelligent beings to interpret what is occurring and to
make choices which are nurturing of the whole.

I submit that without these leaders performing this role - not necessarily
the formal leaders - in a large organisation there will be continual
reduction of effectiveness, aliveness and uniqueness (entropy) or there
will be increasingly rigid rules (leading to the same result).

Michael McMaster :   Michael@kbdworld.com
"I don't give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity 
but I'd die for the simplicity on the other side of complexity." 
            attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes 

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>