CONSIDER ‘THE MANY ROLES THAT LEADERS PLAY’

In his 1973 talk to the National Council of Catholic Laity Greenleaf continues as he turns his attention to the many roles that leaders play in group effort.

 Mediator – intervening in a dispute; working out a basis for resolving differences

 Summarizer – the person who, at appropriate times will say, ‘this is where we are.’

 Consensus Finder – that rare experimental person who will keep trying to state the consensus idea that will resolve the issue

 Critic – the person who finds the logical flaws so they can be dealt with. . . the destructive critic. . .is best viewed as evidence of illness

 Meliorator – who by their very being and presence are reducers of tensions and promoters of good feeling

 Keepers of the Conscience – those whose constant effort is to hold the work of the group solidly within a context of values and belief that all accept as necessary for the work they want to do

 Process Watchers – those whose predominant interest is to watch the total process

 Titular Head – This person is needed because some things can be routinely decided and it is important to have it understood who will do it. . . if all the other roles are well cared for, the titular head may be a quite nominal role.

 This concept of many roles, all of them essential and therefore equally important, provides leadership opportunities for any who want to assume them by taking roles that are appropriate for their experience, skills, temperaments, and interests.  Leadership is thus seen as many parts played by many people in which all who feel responsible for the quality of the group effort take a part.  If these several roles are carried well, the actions by any one person may be so unobtrusive that this contribution is scarcely recognized. . . .Such a group may seem leaderless, and it is leaderless if leadership is seen to be the big ‘I am.’  But, in fact, such a group or team may be the most intensely led of all. [Unpublished draft, pp. 10-11]

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