Leadership Model and Commonalities
As described above there are five leadership models to be applied in a historical context. They include dictatorial, consultative, collaborative, transformational and transactional. Dictatorial is very directive and the leader is the only one calling the shots and they are always right. This is not just applied to a political context but can be professional, the problem is in the working world they do not last as long as in politics. Consultative is more involving getting members of the team to give input and to connect with others. Collaborative goes deeper, where in consultative a leader is getting input but collaborative is working almost as equals putting them together and on par with the team. This is where the first commonality in leadership analysis comes in, trust among both parties. Followers need to trust their leaders and leaders need to trust their followers. “If you do not trust a person’s process that person will not trust you” (Lao Tzu, page 89). Tzu, simply put, describes that followers need to trust your vision but in order for them to fully trust in you, you need to trust in their ethic and process in carrying out your vision. This is where the collaborative approach enters in you need to get people involved and when they get involved they need to trust you as well.
The next model is transformational. In this model the leader really moves the discussion or culture forward by changing the thought process. In order to enact this process, the second commonality among historical leadership comes to play, a leader needs followers. There is a deep relationship between leaders and followers, and each have separate roles. The leader sets the vision and the follower implements it. That is why, trust is key, but clear vision and execution is even better. Bernard Bass suggests “leaders as prophets, priests, kings served as symbols representatives and models for their people.” (Bass, Page 67) Leaders must be clear and prophet like but their message must resonate from people that will follow and implement that vision.
Finally you have transactional leadership. Like the name, simply it is a leadership form that you enable followers by appealing to their economic self-interest. This can be done in many ways and economic does not mean monetary, but just what simply encourages them to do something. One way a leader can accomplish this is the third commonality, education. Leaders who are educated formally or informally need to learn how to “play” on their follower’s self-interest. “Education and work are the levers to uplift a people” (WEB Dubois, page 99) an interesting thought by Dubois. Leaders can use education to improve themselves and their people. By finding people that exhibit qualities and then educating those leaders perpetuate the system and give others hope. Dubois goes further by stating that best and most capable must be educated in institutions of higher education (Dubois, page 98) and this is important by doing so creates a conversation and encourages others to lead but also fall in line.
While leaders need to create educational systems, trust in their followers, and have followers who believe in them, but some elders live in the moment, others live for the future. In history we study great leaders and bad leaders, but what were those leaders thinking when they were active. Were leaders like William Wallace and Joan of Arc thinking about how history would view them or worried more about accomplishing the task at hand? These two were more in the moment, but that is where a difference comes up, some leaders are slaves to history while others create history by living in the moment. “History, that is, the unconscious general, hive life of mankind uses every moment of the life of kings as a tool for its own purposes.” (Tolstoy, page 76). Tolstoy goes further stating that leaders in the war of 1812 could have stopped the war from occurring but they wanted something, power or recognition, or their place in history maybe. Some leaders are hold themselves to this legacy fulfillment, the funny thing is most of the great leaders we study now, seize the moment and let history sort it out, but others seek greatness through future eyes and make their decisions based on that. This is an unfortunate circumstance as leaders can’t think about how their decisions are viewed in the future but how they will help them resolve the conflict now. That is why some leaders might not intervene when they need to, leading to a more a consultative approach so they can distance their role or they might intervene too much. A good leader according Lao Tzu won’t intervene for no reason but instead their presence is felt (Tzu, page 88).
Finally another difference in leadership styles in a historical context is that leaders don’t need a hierarchy. In the commonalities, the discussion focused on leader’s need followers, so one would surmise that a hierarchy is needed. However, when looking at history, some leaders don’t exist in a hierarchy they eschew it but yet they are still followed. A leader can have followers without creating a hierarchy or a formal structure. Plato saw this when writing in the republic he talked about how even masters and slaves both felt free when the slaves were captured and bought into slavery verses being born into it (Plato, page 80). One can still follow the lead by force or by choice but still feel free and independent in their own mind. This is an important characteristic to understand as transformational, consultative and collaborative leadership can be applied to motivate the economic self-interest of the follower to be involved and to participate in the leadership.
In summary there are five leadership models that can be applied to history, dictatorial, transactional, collaborative, consultative, and transformational. Coupled with education, creating system of trust and also people engaged in a vision, leaders can succeed. However, leaders can’t be a slave to how others will view them but instead how they can best solve the problem and situation. This is why in an historical context, leaders must educate themselves and others to create a process and an idea to help them, stay in the moment, and involve your team so that you do not need to be carrying the load.
Bass, Bernard ( 1985 ) Concepts of Leadership: The Beginnings. In Wren, J. T. (ed)
(1995). The leader's companion: Insights on leadership through the ages. ( pg 67) New
York, NY: The Free Press.
Dubois, W.E.B. (1903) The Talented Tenth. In In Wren, J. T. (ed.) (1995). The leader's
companion: Insights on leadership through the ages. ( pg 98-99) New York, NY: The Free
Plato (reprinted 1901). Republic. In Wren, J. T. (1995). The leader's companion: Insights on
leadership through the ages. ( pg 80) New York, NY: The Free Press.
Tolstoy (1933) Rulers and Generals are Slaves. In Wren, J. T. (1995). The leader's companion:
Insights on leadership through the ages. ( pg 76) New York, NY: The Free Press.
Tzu, Lao (6 Century BC) Tao Te Ching. In Wren, J. T. (1995). The leader's companion: Insights
on leadership through the ages. ( pg 88) New York, NY: The Free Press.
Rodney Mogen, is the president of solveurpuzzles, a business focused company. Helping Financial advisors and insurance agents solve their case troubles and issues. Rodney is also a small business advisor focused on developing financial strategies for small business owners and helping them develop their own strategy and ideas to grow, sell, develop the way they want.