John Ralston Saul, Margaret MacMillan, Naomi Klein, and Adam Gopnik on leadership

2016-04-20

in Canada, Politics

TVO’s Big Ideas convened an interesting panel discussion on leadership with a variety of public intellectuals.

This is from 2009, and it’s interesting to note that Klein isn’t the one emphasizing climate change in this conversation.

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. March 26, 2017 at 5:07 pm

We also rely as a society, much more deeply than we realize, on the soloists who forge their own paths. We see those figures in all kinds of pursuits: in the sciences; in sports like tennis, track and figure skating; and in the arts. Art and science are about many things that make life worth living, but they are not, at their core, about leadership. Helen Vendler, a professor of English at Harvard, published an essay in which she encouraged the university to attract more artists and not expect them “to become leaders.” Some of those students will become leaders in the arts, she wrote — conducting an orchestra, working to reinstate the arts in schools — “but one can’t quite picture Baudelaire pursuing public service.”

Perhaps the biggest disservice done by the outsize glorification of “leadership skills” is to the practice of leadership itself — it hollows it out, it empties it of meaning. It attracts those who are motivated by the spotlight rather than by the ideas and people they serve. It teaches students to be a leader for the sake of being in charge, rather than in the name of a cause or idea they care about deeply. The difference between the two states of mind is profound. The latter belongs to transformative leaders like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi; the former to — well, we’ve all seen examples of this kind of leadership lately.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/24/opinion/sunday/not-leadership-material-good-the-world-needs-followers.html

http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/MilitaryReview/Archives/English/MilitaryReview_20141031_art012.pdf

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