Global businesses and organizations demand responsible leadership that enhances professional and institutional ethics. There are several authors who have extensively covered this subject, but John Gardner, in his book On Leadership, provides a deeper insight into the aspects that make responsible leadership successful. Although Gardner’s vision on accountability in leadership is quite appealing, his ideas on leadership expectations do not inspire confidence.
Interesting Ideas on trust and Accountability
I find John Gardner’s ideas on the importance of trust and accountability in leadership quite fascinating. Gardner writes that leaders should set high personal standards when it comes to moral and ethical values. If the leader shows a high degree of trust and accountability, the followers are inspired to work towards the common goal. Leaders cannot restore faith in people’s shared beliefs and values if they are untrustworthy; they have to practice the value model they teach.
Gardener’s view on the value of trust in leadership is also fascinating. Trust facilitates beneficial collaboration between the leader and the followers (Gardner, 1990, p. 3). Gardener demonstrates that teams perform efficiently when there is trust within the team. The level of efficiency increases with an increase in the level of trust which requires the leader has to show fairness-in private and public. The leader should also show unwavering belief in his ideology. Leaders affirm their belief in the system(s) they advocate for if they stand by what they believe in without changing course, unless it is necessary. Moreover, putting the leadership theory into practice tremendously motivates the followers.
Intriguing Ideas on Leadership Building and Leadership Expectations
However, I find Gardner’s ideas on leadership building and expectations from leadership quite intriguing. Although Garner rightly observes that leaders should lead the followers to achieve a common goal, he does not call the people to vet the leader’s ideas. Moreover, apart from showing the way forward, responsible leadership should also be implementable. It is also crucial to have some means of determining the progress achieved. In the absence of such parameters, the leadership can hold the followers at ransom, and sometimes lead into oblivion.
The leader’s role is to facilitate the achievement of a common goal, and ideas are shaped by the people. The leader should not deviate from roles such as motivating followers, reaffirming values, managing followers, and representing the group. The leader forms a part of the system that helps to achieve the common purpose. A leader’s goals have to be measureable; otherwise, the leadership can be confused with power and status. It is easy for the leadership to lose focus on assuming power and status, which can lead to stagnation of the leader’s vision. In order to prevent such an occurrence, responsible leadership should demand delivery of tangible results.
Learning on leadership renewal
Gardner’s ideas considerably improved my understanding of responsible leadership. For example, I now appreciate the importance of leadership renewal in responsible leadership. Effective leaders, as well as organizations, need to renew frequently; leadership renewal facilitates refocusing on values, liberates positive energy, reenergizes forgotten goals and achieves new understanding. Leadership renewal also enables the leaders to be resilient, as well as contributing to positive emotions between the leaders and followers. It also helps to keep stress at bay and the destructive effects of power that can lead to stagnation. In conclusion, I am grateful for Gardner’s eye opener on the value of trust, accountability and renewal in responsible leadership.
Gardner, J. (1990). On Leadership. New York, NY: The Free Press.