This chapter talks about leadership in relationship o having character or not having character. Be we just a plain individual, leader in our society or a part there of. We have to carry ourselves in an exemplary manner because people are always watching us, whether we realize it or not. The higher position you are in authority or stature the more scrutiny you are under. With technology and electronic media being so easily accessible it often times leads to people being looked at poorly for one reason or another. A lot of times it is done purposefully by the media for the sake of making money.
The author makes a special point to note that this loss of character is prevalent in all walks of society such as religion, politics, and business being the most prominent of these. Chapter 3: A life of Morality This chapter speaks about leadership and morality and how as a people of society and the society at large all have the capability of being moral or immoral regardless of their status in life, their wealth, power, position, or education. In many cases, the chapter concludes, that often times the moral fabric of any group be it government or business often times reflects the morality or immorality of its leaders.
Classic point that was given was the melt down of our financial system here in the United States. This was considered due in large part to the moral absence in the corporate banking system leadership. Much of this premise is to be considered in selecting team members and having people with common ideology when it comes to team work. Chapter 4: Yielding to Temptation This chapter talks about yielding from temptation. It talks about not so much the thought but acting upon temptations. When one yields to temptations they can fall so far from grace that it almost makes life unbearable. Temptation crosses all sectors of society; money, power, sex.
Its interesting because the writer makes a point that its almost mans nature to want to control things, in his/her job, husband over wife or vice versa etc. man even tries to control nature in the universe at times. He goes on to point out that the hardest thing in nature for man to control seems to be he him self. Often times power such as in government or big business makes people feel almost invincible and unaccountable for their actions. But history has proven time and time again that not to be the case because often time they lose more that position but stature and reputation.
Chapter 5: The Duty of Responsibility This chapter talks about moral responsibility. How it is virtually impossible to separate morality from responsibility because one is so closely related to the other. He suggests that the negative political and financial state our country is in today is due a lot to the fact that out leaders have ignored this very important point, were too naive or just plain arrogant. He says “The bedrock of moral responsibility is an ethical behavior of the leader and his or her adherence to the standards of right conduct. He speaks of businesses at large lacking moral responsibility and caring more about the bottom line instead of what is termed “the triple bottom line,” which entails the good of all including share holders, employees, customers, suppliers, the community, the environment and the owners of the company themselves. By taking into moral account and responsibility all of these factors will tend to make the business that much more competitive. Leaders have responsibility to lead not just in the corporate by laws but also in common decency and ethicalness.
The leader and his or her subordinate have a psychological contract where by the subordinate has an unwritten understanding with the leader that he is going to led in a responsible manner. Leaders take responsibility for things that go wrong and hold themselves responsible for corrective change. All this leadership should be done with transparency and all times they should be trustworthy. This is why they are called leaders because they should be able to live up to the expectancy for which they are charged. Chapter 6: The Facade of Power
This chapter talks about leadership and power. Some leaders use power as a tool for the betterment of the group at large while others use it for merely selfish reasons. Good power, which is kept in check, normally leads to success of an organization while the opposite can lead to organization demise. Power is mostly defined as an instrument to get others to do what the might not have done on their own without the influence of the leader. There are different types of leadership styles. Some use intimidation some use bribery, and while others use their attraction.
It also speaks about hard power and soft power. Hard power is when people use coercion, intimidation, sanctions in its sort to get people to do what the want them to do. Often times these leaders use fear and fell that they are in complete control. All its subordinates feel they have little or no recourse. Soft power is considered the more rational approach. It is called sometimes “the second form of power. ” People use more tactical and persuasiveness to get people to perform or react in a certain way. Much like a husband might to do a wife, where it is more subtle.
These leaders tend to lead more by example than by command. One might say that hard power has little accountability compared to soft power which is based largely on credibility. Chapter 7: The Pitfalls of Arrogance This chapter talks about arrogance and its pitfalls. Arrogance can be summed up as one who might think too much of himself and too little of others. This sentiment when combined with power can be overbearing at best and often times can leads to a person’s demise. There is a distinct difference yet subtle between arrogance and self confidence; the latter being good.
One can have confidence in himself, which is good, but not to the point of vanity. Often times leaders who are arrogant can not relate nor do they want to relate sometimes to the feelings or opinions of the subordinates. They have too little respect for the opinions of others. Sometimes arrogance leads to micro-managing which will weaken their leadership. He gives illustrations of how arrogance brought down certain people in society such as Sam Waksal, President Bill Clinton, former governor Elliot Spitzer, and New Jersey governor Jim Mcgereevy, just to name a few.
All these men were considered arrogant in the way in which they went about their business; almost with a veil of invincibility. Their thoughts and actions lead to their downfall. Chapter 8: An Ounce of Humility Humility is called “a necessity for success. ” Humility is the antithesis of arrogance. And by a virtue of its design will bring more good outcomes and success. So where arrogance leads to downfall, humility leads to growth. The act of humbleness dictates that one does not presume themselves more important than others nor is proud or boastful.
He talks about humility in relationship to religion in history. it is the foundation of spiritual growth. Nearly all religions be Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, or Islam, preach that humbleness is extremely important in obtaining the richness of ones own sprit and connection with that eternal realm where one might find peace and salvation. Some cynics of humility were characterized as a sign of weakness or false modesty just so they could feel more “special and better than others,” the author thinks not.
He mentions three distinct leaders who epitomize humility: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Mahatma Gandhi, and Albert Einstein. Another point he makes, in the importance of humility and leadership, is our global military presence around the world dealing with so many vast cultures, almost demands the need for humility and diplomacy because we are dealing with so many different people and ways of life. Today’s business environment, more so than ever, reflects the need for people in leadership to show some humility. The key to leadership is good servitude.
The benefits of humility go far beyond one individual or one entity. It affects society at large. Chapter 9: A life of Ethics This chapter addresses ethics. Ethics by some is becoming a thing of the past; in our work places and society at large. All organizations in order to have a meaningful existence have to work with some code of ethics. It determines what we should and should not be. It is hard to legislate ethics because it is not so easily measured in business as other areas of the company or organization such as profit. Often times, competitiveness makes leaders act contrary to hoe they should act.
It talks about examples of ethics being absent in our workforce such companies as Enron, World Com, Imcone Systems, Tyco, and the like. This is caused as reactions of these companies brought to great despair and has created an environment in our business culture that recognizes the need for more ethics more so now than ever. He blames the poor economic state of our American economy to the non ethical practices of our leaders. They skirted the law in common business practices. Ethical behavior or the lack there of is mostly influenced by our surroundings, i. . : family, school, church, media or peer groups. Individuals in organizations often reflect the culture environment they are in be it upstanding and ethical. In its practices or the reverse of that, it all falls on the shoulders of the leaders of the organization because so often is they that set the tone for everyone else. It is the responsibility of the leader to make sure that his organization is conducting them self in a proper manner. One primary way to keep the environment ethical, the leader must make it a point of topic within the group.
He feels that ethics is not given much thought or time in the work place, home or school. In many cases, through either ignorance or arrogance leaders allow themselves to remain unethical with little or no fear of consequence. He goes on to say, a lot of times; the practicing or non-practicing of ethics sometimes comes down to simply a matter of choice. People have blatant disregard for doing the right thing. Although ethics and morality like anything else, filters down from the top, it is actually everyone’s responsibility in the group to use moral ethics in their approach to doing business.
Chapter 10: The Seven Deadly Sins The seven deadly sins, otherwise known as “pewslag,” characterized by theologians and scholars the world over as being very influential in existence of mans and his relationship to good and evil. It is an overall thinking that pride, envy, anger, greed, lust, gluttony, and sloth effect all individuals one tine or another and cause us to act contrary to natures, mans, and God’s laws. Mahatma Gandhi recognized that there was an inner violence that mankind dealt with and external violence. The internal violence is things such as hate, anger, jealousy, greed.
Gandhi viewed these seven deadly sins as internal violence. These internal violence were the catalyst behind mans external violence. External violence can be described as the physical violent assault on another such as with the use of a weapon of sort. In relationship to leadership, the leaders who showed more self-control and restrain in these areas variably, are the ones who survive and prosper. They recognize that the spiritual world and the physical world are intertwined and ultimately “we destroy ourselves because of the baggage of sins that we walk around with. The writer also, in the end of this chapter, suggests we rid ourselves of this load and “travel light. ” Chapter 11: The Necessity of Teamwork The old saying “no man is an island” is very accurately describes this section. Solid teamwork is the groups’ aspiration to reach when their goal is to be great. Teamwork incorporates all the talents and skills of individuals toward one or more common objectives. Teamwork is also considered a form of energy that is created by the workings of the individuals, as one in sharing ideas and information which culminate into constructive jobs, duties, or functions.
The seven deadly sins can creep its ugly head and cause bitterness or conflict within the group. Also, social-cultural and demographic factors can cause a breakdown of solid teamwork. The use of the word, belief of the word and the actions of the word “we,” particularly when it comes from leadership creates an atmosphere of harmony and togetherness when the goal is for the good of all. Ultimately it is the job of the leader to keep the team running as smooth as possible, not necessarily an easy task at all. Chapter 12: Putting the Team Together
It is the leader’s responsibility to carefully pick the members of the team and there are so many different variables to look at to determine who might be good and who might not be. Is it youth vs. age, experience vs. non experience, former educated over experience, past triumphs or failures? Or do we spend more time considering the family background of people, their hobbies, interest, their compassion for one another, carrying for other people, honesty, and integrity, willingness to put themselves last and team first? Will this individual bring harmony to the group; will they bring a sense of well being and togetherness?
A leader has to consider the individuals purpose for joining the group. Is it for self gratification or gain, and if so, will this person really more help the group or hinder the group irrespective of the many talents and resources he or she might have to offer? These are all the things and more that a good leader must contemplate before taking on any new team members. Many an organization has been brought down because leaders too hastily recruited team members as opposed to carefully taking their time to consider all the above.
Chapter 13: The Decline of Altruism This chapter centers on the decline of altruism. Some people will argue that altruism is a dying breed, while others say it is still prevalent everywhere even in the animal kingdom. Altruism which is ones doing good for another in an unselfish or selflessly manner, is broken down into different categories, namely two parts: reciprocal altruism and universal altruism. The first being almost tit for tat; when one is doing something because it has been done unto them or they expect it to be done unto them in the future.
The latter, being unconditional, much like in a sense of Christianity; when one is not looking for anything in return but instead merely doing it because they think it is the humane thing to do. As a consensus by many that neither society, nor any corporate team or entity can survive well without it, it being altruism. There are many different reasons why people are altruistic. Could be a sense of personal responsibility, they think it’s the right thing to do, could be during an emergency or social and cultural values.
It could also be the desire to overcome guilt, or it could be because of their exposure to it through school, family, church, and community groups, what have you. Many of the problems today in our society, and the economy at large, might be considered due to the lack of altruism or minimum traits of altruism at best in our modern day leaders who failed to recognize their duty in giving to other selflessly while mitigating their own self righteousness or ego. Chapter 14: The Service of Gratitude The author starts right out by saying “the primary purpose of human existence is to serve the people of the world. This act of servitude is a very important ingredient in effective leadership. While he is leading he is actually taking on a task of servitude and selflessness. A leadership is considered the custodianship of others well being and overall success. Ultimately a leader must put his self interest secondary to the interest and good of others. Many people serve for the gratuity, what they can get out of it, their own personal agenda. The “what’s in it for me? ” syndrome, but this are not and can not be construed as good leadership. This way of thinking only leads to disruption and potential downfall of any organization if that leader heads.
They also suggest that a big part of the reason for the downfall and collapse of our countries economic decline is because lack of service, both physical and otherwise. Our goods and services are being outsourced to other countries and in other cases many of our leaders don’t see their roles as “being service providers to the people. ” These leaders therefore allow corruption to thrive when it should not. The importance of service is to neutralize the have’s and have not’s. It’s the balance between mans nature to overcome and take care of themselves only and those who can not do for themselves. good leader looks at the strengths and weaknesses of the group, the society or the company and tries to balance the scales to make certain that everyone gets their fare shake or piece of the pie. Good service at its best is good service at its most. Chapter 15: Blueprint for Moral Leadership In the beginning of the chapter there is much discussion about the harms and ills that American leaders have brought on our county at large and how the misuse of trust afforded the m by American people lead to one of the greatest economic down turns since the Great Depression.
Leaders failed to take responsibility to any and all part that they played in creating and environment of greed and corruption neither in our government nor in our work place. It is their sense at times that only the average persons are to be held accountable for their actions or lack of. Part of the problem in our leadership[ is how we select them . often times its based on their abilities, education, organizational skills, ability to delegate, but rarely are we using a more natural guideline to choose them by, such as their character, which encompasses not only their ability but their moral consciousness.
Basically we have to look beyond the structural part of leadership and more at the intangibles such as the spiritualistic side of leadership, the wholesomeness of it and the accountability. It has to be humanistic attributes such as being responsible, modest, courageous, honesty, and the belief in fair play; spiritual qualities such as faith in self and higher power, caring about and consideration for others, self control, devotion and such. These traits along with organizational skills when applied with proper alance form the most greatest of leadership which would ultimately equate to the greatest of success. Theory: Conflict Theory Conflict Theory studies the causes of crime within a society. For the good of the society, standards of morality are imposed by the justice system. Throughout the book the author gives reason to our economic downfall. He put the blame on the leadership in place not making correct moral, ethical and responsible decisions. One example is from chapter 8 when he speaks about major companies such as Enron and World Com who have had a major impact on our economic plummet.
It also be no worthy to mention he also suggests some fault on the people who put these leaders in place to begin with. Methodology: Bibliography The author did extensive research on each key points in the book. He incorporated some of Sociologies most respected members such as Jon Witt, Richley Crapo and Robin Williams Jr. Through his research he collectively combined the various thoughts into one seamless idea of how America has been affected by poor leadership. He also used his research to find key components of how to be an effective leader by virtue of morality, humility and ethics.
Strengths: I. One strength was the simplicity in which it was written. It read very easily and some how kept the same theme throughout. Enjoyable reading. II. Very informative, educational, thought provoking and diverse in its use of different references and subject matter. Weaknesses: I. One weakness might be there seems to be an overly cynical outlook of American leadership at large. II. Another might be, some chapters left you wanting for more. In other words, it is so good while you are reading you want more information on that particular topic. Conclusion:
In summation good leadership must always be in harmony with servitude and have little or no tolerance for arrogance. In chapter 8, a good example of arrogance vs. humbleness is a driver who is lost. The arrogant motorist would refuse to stop and get directions and end up miles away from his destination. While the more humble motorist will stop to seek direction and be quickly put on the proper road. A leader who posses most of these characteristics such as humility, altruism, soft power, gratitude, and the like will lead to a life of success in the organization.
Particularly when he possesses a moral compass that mandates he use fairness and compassion in his/her approach to leadership. This person would resist any temptation to be greedy, selfish, egotistical, maniacal or harsh. One change for the future, there will be more accountability expected from our leadership. They will be more closely monitored, more checks and balances, much tighter regulations, more overview boards, less bureaucracy, more punitive penalties and laws will be imposed.