Social Justice And Leadership


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Social Justice And Leadership

  1. 1. Social Justice and Leadership An Ethics Based Perspective Frank Markow, Ph.D.
  2. 2. Leadership and The Human Condition “Nothing offers so clear and urgent challenge to leadership, nothing tests it so decisively, as human needs and wants” (Burns, 2003)
  3. 3. Leaders Influence Others Because this is true… “The influence dimension of leadership requires that the leader have an impact on the lives of those being led. To make a change in other people carries an enormous ethical burden and responsibility” Northouse (2007)
  4. 4. Leadership and Ethics Aristotle A moral person demonstrates the virtues of courage, temperance, generosity, generosity, self-control, honesty, sociability, modesty, fairness and justice
  5. 5. Self vs. Others • Ethical egoism – concern for self above others • Altruism – concern for others above self • Good model – parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10)
  6. 6. Transformational Leadership • “Transformational leadership” – emphasis on followers needs, values and morals • Attempts to move followers to higher standard of moral responsibility • Responsibility of leaders to help followers assess their own values and needs in order to raise them to a higher level of functioning, to a level that will stress values such as liberty, justice and equality
  7. 7. 5 Principles of Ethical Leadership 1. Ethical leaders respect others 2. Ethical leaders serve others 3. Ethical leaders are just 4. Ethical leaders are honest 5. Ethical leaders build community Issues of social justice show that, at some point, on small and great levels, leadership has failed to be ethical
  8. 8. Leadership in At-risk Communities • Based on the work of Wallace (2008), who studied the life of Myles Horton, a community leader among the rural poor in Appalachia
  9. 9. Different Approaches to Leadership in Crisis Situations • When social structures are in disarray, leadership can happen in two ways: • Charismatic ‘savior’ like leader – While initially very appealing, historically, these often bring further oppression, no matter how altruistic their initial intentions may have been (e.g. everyone loved Hitler at first!)
  10. 10. Edge of Chaos approach Rather than top-down approaches, the leader should be concerned with the development of distributed intelligences and human assets in order to multiply requisite variety and enable the organization to ‘learn” and adapt at the most basic level (Wallace, 2008)
  11. 11. Reasons for low participation among the poor • Feelings of helplessness, victimization, weak ego structure, low impulse control, fatalism, a present orientation with little ability to defer gratification, lowered sense of self efficacy • These, combined with the external, social malaise, leads to high levels of internal and community stress that serves to diminish motivation, leads to self-destructive coping mechanisms, malaise and lack of trust.
  12. 12. Leadership to at risk communities Wallace developed 6 principles that can be applied to leadership in at risk communities
  13. 13. Communal residency Leaders must become immersed with and join in solidarity with the people. Get with the people, learn from them, and let them teach you about their contextual realities and needs. Become incarnational!
  14. 14. Radical subordination Subordinating gifts, skills, abilities, goals, vision for the community, or timetable for change to the needs, desires, and aspirations of the people of the community. RS reduces the overt influence of the leader and makes room for the expression of the gifts, abilities and dreams of those in the community. Leaders must provide a supportive and safe environment in which community members can experiment, test and try new ideas and build their self confidence in their personal and community confidence to tackle problems
  15. 15. Responsibility Emphasizing the need for people to take responsibility for their own lives and communities. Failure to do this promotes a victim mentality and paternalism. People develop hope if they feel that they are part of the process, that they matter, that they can make a difference, etc. People loose hope when they lose control
  16. 16. Reconciliation • Part of what keeps people isolated and in poverty is fractured social and economic relationships. Prejudice, competition for scare resources, radical individualism all erode a community’s ability to address and solve problems. • Conflict is also a deeply seated part of the social psyche and issues must be aired, issues of injustice and fairness. Reconciliation is ultimately an expression of social justice and a high view of human rights and dignity. • Forgiveness!
  17. 17. Reframing People can become stuck in prevailing, negative paradigm. Leaders must help people look at same circumstances and stimuli in new ways. Help them establish a critical consciousness – a critical analysis of everyday life in terms of the various forces (political, economic, racial, etc) tat sometimes shape or control their actions. Changing the way the oppressed see the world
  18. 18. Replacement Seeing yourself as ultimately ‘on the way out’ to make room for grassroots leadership to emerge Legacy leadership – what you leave behind of value once you are gone is the greatest indication of how successful you were as a leader
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