In practicing experiential education, the question of “What is leadership?” is a kind of cornerstone. A central goal in this practice is to create a context for participants to take charge of their own learning to apply in their real live in the real world. Another word for this is leadership.
In reading notes I took on an interview with a community organizer in El Salvador in 2013, I came across some profound insights on “transformative leadership.” The clarity and organization of his thoughts appealed to me enough then to write them down, word for word, and enough now to share.
What do you think about these distinctions? Comment below.
What is a leader?
Someone who, wherever they are, can be identified by the people as someone who can help them in their cause, and who has the charisma or whatever it is to attract others.
3 kinds of abilities of a leader?
Human—> Capacity to work efficiently and well.
Conceptual —> a “human architect,” helping others to be their best selves. Can understand and relate to people at all levels. Capacity to think long-term, good at creating direction.
Technical—> Knowledge and attitude about whatever type of procedure or technical ability has to do with your profession.
I. Communication, persuasion, integrity, emotional intelligence, creativity, critical thought
II. Should remain in the center, creating strength- should be visible and be in contact with people, but let them work creatively.
III. Interpersonal (charisma), legitimate (position), expert (knowledge formation), political (tactical astuteness)
Personal (charisma)– Charisma can be defined as projecting trust and confidence, verbally and non-verbally, comporting oneself with strength and posture and speaking with clarity.
Legitimate authority– have a higher authority, people consider it necessary that this authority is maintained. Attentive, concentrated.
Expert power– From a specialized learning track, power that comes from knowledge and information that a person has about a theme/ specialty.
Political power- Ability of a leader to build support; exchanging and listening to followers, how to attend to different people differently.
Compare and contrast mainstream leadership // transformative leadership
Designated // Surge spontaneously, with growing morale of support
Formal authority // Moral authority
Sees in worker their capacity/ distress // Sees in the worker their potential and dream, with sympathy
Administrator of concrete results // Human architect, guiding contact and actions with empathy
Orders work to be finished // Inspires people to complete objectives
Kinds of leaders
Benevolent and paternalistic
-> Good relations with group but provokes dependence
-> Other person doesn’t collaborate equally
-> exert absolute control over subordinates
-> Doesn’t consult with others
-> Organizes vertical communication style
-> Consistent with what think/ say/ do
-> Constructive criticism/ self- criticism
-> Sense of grounded optimism that maintains positivity that allows risk and failure, celebrates successes
-> Sensibility/ simplicity and humility
-> Treat all as collaborators
-> Maintain good communication, listens to their ideas and supports them
-> Healthy and vibrant shared responsibility.
Advice for leaders
Never leave halfway what you’ve begun.
Before adversity, problems and challenges demonstrate courage and audacity.
When doubts, rumors, gossip, investigate and then act firmly.
A different kind of leader is
Shameless- expresses ideas and makes proposals with firmness, bold in vision of the world and chooses which ones want to realize
Disobedient– promote rational change against anachronistic behavior
Vagabond- dream with their eyes open and spend time speaking and listening to others
Disrespectful– communicate without fear of others not liking them, express their truth with humility
Dreamers– lets their imagination fly and always puts themselves out there to try the impossible
Passionate– that maximizes every hour of life, that lives every instant, although most important is to live and learn from failure.
This leader is immersed in a transformative process capable of changing structures to transform ordinary people to extraordinary people endowed with charisma, consideration, and intellectual stimulation