I recently read a blog post by Francis Gouillart titled, “Leadership sucks.” The post is a response to an article by Henry Mintzberg titled, “The Last Word: Rebuilding Companies as Communities.” The main point behind the article is that there is an over-emphasis on leadership in organizations and an under-emphasis on community building. Mintzberg suggests that organizations should moves towards a balance between leadership, communityship, and citizenship in order to strengthen organizations and encourage a greater sense and manifestation of corporate social responsibility (CSR). As part of the assignment, we have been asked to ponder how our specific article/post can relate to our own experiences with leadership or serve as a model for how we can act (or not act) in the future.
Personally, I find many of the expressed ideas appealing. Despite the fact that I am a business major, I find sometimes find myself at odds with ‘pure’ business motivators. While I understand drive and motivation for profit, I support the idea of the triple bottom line rather than purely profit-seeking business ventures. Much of this focus ties in with the ideas and values of CSR. While I have supported CSR and the triple bottom line, I had never given thought to the internal requirements and prerequisites for these corporate focuses. This post and the associated article provide me with new insights on how to introduce such focuses where they had previously not existed.
While organizations need some leadership, they also need a sense of community and a sense of direction. While not every organization can actively foster such a community, I think that organizations should seek to incorporate a much of this philosophy as possible into their organizational cultures so as to encourage CSR and an emphasis on the triple bottom line.
With regards to my own personal experiences with leadership, I believe that I can use some of these ideas in the organizations I am involved with at Virginia Tech and hopefully in my future work environment. As an individual, I should seek to find a balance between leadership, communityship and citizenship with my colleagues. This could be through encouraging team-building events, focusing more on relationship building within my organization or team, or through exercising good followership in addition to good leadership. Additionally, I could try and create a collaborative atmosphere by encouraging suggestions for improvements in the organization and developing my active listening skills when communicating with my peers. I should also strive to be a servant leader if put in a position of power — placing my peers and my cause ahead of myself.
Thomas Jefferson once commented on power by saying, “I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use our power the greater it will be.” I think this quote ties in nicely with the Gouillart post and Mintzberg article because it supports the notion of ‘just enough leadership.’ Organizations can gain more power and thusly better serve the good of society if communityship is allowed to grow. We should strive to support this balance between leadership, communityship, and citizenship so that our organizations might have a better chance of embodying the values of CSR and the triple bottom line.