Philosophical Leadership (speech notes)

Posted by Bogdan Dabrowski on April 21, 2015
Blog Post

Alternative titles: True Leadership, Libertarian Leadership, Rational Leadership.

What is leadership?

Motivating people, inspiring them to excellence, in business, local community, group, academia, family (parenting).

By excellence I do not mean perfection, rather effectiveness. Perfection is an arch enemy of effectiveness and excellence.

How do you motivate?

Before we add the positives, the negatives should be eliminated:Libertarianism, Freedom is about non-initiation of force.Liberty is very simple: do not initiate force against your human fellow being, eliminate aggression from your spectrum of behaviors.

What specifically are the negatives to eliminate from our lives and our workplace?

  • Physical aggression – self-evident
  • Verbal aggression – calling names, “you idiot”, putting down, bullying, exploitation
  • Passive aggression – manipulation, withdrawal of feedback, in parenting/marriage withdrawal of emotions

By being an aggressive leader you attract a sort of people/employees who are obedient in the moment and subjugate to manipulation and bullying.

Why eliminate aggression? What happens if you do not eliminate it?

  • Aggression, not only by libertarian standards, is immoral
  • it is a drug and it is short term oriented;
  • not effective in the long term
  • and addictive; By screaming, even by raising your voice, you produce people addictive to aggression

Current textbooks affirm:

  • short-term orientation
  • manipulation and intimidation as a legitimate leadership style; playing "games"
  • Current business model is Macchiavelian

Once negatives are eliminated we have practically 80% of work done. As in free market: if you withdraw state intervention/aggression the positives will appear spontaneously on the market.

The other 20% are the “positives” i.e. competences and skills: positivity, support, excitement, happiness, virtue, rational values, self-knowledge, self-actualization, wisdom, knowledge, logical thinking, speaking style, relaxed style of communication, not taking things seriously; life is pleasurable; being honest with oneself; commitment to cause, treating people with dignity, respect, compassion.

Be an example. Nothing is more stronger than living by example. Just show, you do not have to talk nor write. You have to achieve excellence before you motivate other to excellence. A leader attracts people in values he is exhibiting. The only effective way to communicate principles is to live them.

Utilitarian leadership

The power of a leader is defined by the power of utility that he has to his employees. Authority is utility to people; if people get that you care you will have an authority; if you do not have utility you end up substituting utility with power. You can’t be an effective leader when you apply power; If you apply power you’re no longer a leader, you are a bullyif you apply power, you fundamentally failed as a leader; don’t relay on “because I am your boss”, “because I am higher in hierarchy”, the less hierarchy the better.

The goal does not justify the means, the goal is a natural consequence of means applied. The leader is not on top of hierarchy, does not have to be in hierarchy, hierarchy is not required for being a leader

Management is not leadership

Advice to employees: do not company with bad people, do not accept aggressive leaders.

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