loren Eric Swanson: Leadership by James MacGregor Burns

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Leadership by James MacGregor Burns

James MacGregor Burns. Leadership. New York, New York: Perennial, Harper Collins Publishers, 1978.

“The relations of most leaders and followers are transactional—leaders approach followers with an eye to exchanging one thing for another: jobs for votes, or subsidies for campaign contributions. Such transactions comprise the bulk of the relationships among leaders and followers, especially in groups, legislatures, and parties. Transforming leadership, while more complex, is more potent. The transforming leader recognizes and exploits an existing need or demand of a potential follower. But, beyond that, the transforming leader looks for potential motives in followers, seeks to satisfy higher needs, and engages the full person of the follower. The result of transforming leadership is a relationship of mutual stimulation and elevation that converts followers into leaders and may covert leaders into moral agents.” P. 4

“All leaders are actual or potential power holders, but not all power holders are leaders.” P. 18

“Kenneth Janda defines power as ‘the ability to cause other persons to adjust their behavior in conformance with communicated behavior patterns.’ I agree, assuming that those behavior patterns aid the purpose of the power wielder. According to Andrew McFarland, ‘If the leader causes changes that he intended, he has exercised power; if the leader causes changes that he did not intend or want, he has exercised influence, but not power…..” P. 19

“Some define leadership as leaders making followers do what followers would not otherwise do, or as leaders making followers do what the leaders want them to do; I define leadership as leaders inducing followers to act for certain goals that represent the values and the motivations—the wants and needs, the aspirations and expectations—of both leaders and followers. And the genius of leadership lies in the manner in which leaders see and act on their own and their followers’ values and motivations.” P. 19

[Transforming] leadership occurs when one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality…Their purposes, which might have started out as separate but related, as the case of transactional leadership, become fused. Power bases are linked not as counterweights but as mutual support for common purpose. Various names are used for such leadership, some of them derisory: elevating, mobilizing, inspiring, exalting, uplifting, preaching, exhorting, evangelizing. The relationship can be moralistic, of course. But transforming leadership ultimately becomes moral in that it raises the level of human conduct and ethical aspiration of both leaders and led, and thus it has a transforming effect on both. P. 20

“The potential for influence through leadership is usually immense. The essence of leadership in any polity is the recognition of real need, the uncovering and exploiting of contradictions among values and between values and practice, the realigning of values, the reorganization of institutions where necessary, and the governance of change. Essentially the leader’s task is conscious-raising on a wide plane. ‘Values exist only when there is consciousness,’ Susan Langer has said. ‘Where nothing is felt, nothing matters.’ The leader’s fundamental act is to induce people to be aware or conscious of what they feel—to feel their true needs so strongly, to define their values so meaningful, that they can be moved to purposeful action.” P. 44

“The male bias is reflected in the false conception of leadership as mere command or control. As leadership comes properly to be seen as a process of leaders engaging and mobilizing the human needs and aspirations of followers, women will be more readily recognized as leaders and men will change their own leadership styles.” P. 50

“To begin to sort out the channels of interaction among leaders and followers, we may think in terms of activators, the activated (respondents), and the nature of the response—ultimately its function, however small, in changing an existing structure of interaction. Activation consists of any initial act that stimulates a response; if no response results from an activation effort, activation does not take place. Activation so defined covers a vast range of acts, from long-term arousal of expectations to precipitating an immediate response—a landlord’s warning to a tenant, a speech by a prime minister or president, pre-election comments by a bartender, a church group circulating a petition, revolutionary appeals to the masses, the offer of a handshake by a campaigner to a bystander, propagandistic appeals across national boundaries, the politically motivated confrontation by Red Guards, a college teacher’s lectures or assignments, a get-out-the-vote campaign, proselytizing by an anticolonial, nationalistic party in the rural areas of a developing nation, the ‘kindling power’ of a Huey Long, a Boulanger, or a Demosthenes.” P. 130

By social change I mean her real change—that is, a transformation to a marked degree in the attitudes, norms, institutions, and behaviors that structure our daily lives. P. 414

The leadership process must be defined, in short, as carrying through from the decision-making stages to the point of concrete changes in people’s lives, attitudes, behaviors, institutions. Even the sweep of this process is not enough, however, for we must include another dimension: time. Attitude and behavior can change for a certain period; as in a war, popular fads and emotional political movements change only to revert later. Real change means a continuing interaction of attitudes, behavior, and institutions, monitored by alterations in individual and collective hierarchies of values. P. 414

“Leadership brings about real change that leaders intend, under our definition.” P. 415

“Planning for structural change, whether of the system or in the system is the ultimate moral test of decision-making leadership inspired by certain goals and values and intent on achieving real social change; it is also the leader’s most potent weapon. It is a test in that planning calls for thinking and acting along a wide battlefront of complex forces, institutions, and contingencies; if the planners really ‘mean it,’ they must plan for the reshaping of means as required by the ends to which they are committed. It is a weapon in that a well-conceived plan, along with available planning technology, supplies leaders with an estimate of the human, material, and intellectual resources necessary to draw up and drive through a plan for substantial social change. Planning is designed to anticipate and to counter the myriad factors that impair the line of decision and action between the policy-making of planning leaders and real change in the daily lives of great numbers of people.” P. 419

“Leaders can also shape and alter and elevate the motives and values and goals of followers through the vital teaching role of leadership. This is transforming leadership. The premise of this leadership is that, whatever the separate interests persons might hold, they are presently or potentially united in pursuit of ‘higher’ goals, the realization of which is tested by the achievement of significant change that represents the collective or pooled interests of leaders and followers.” P. 425

“Whatever the source of the leader’s ideas,’ David McClelland says, ‘he cannot inspire his people unless he expresses vivid goals which in some sense they want. Of course, the more closely he meets their needs, the less’ persuasive’ he has to be; but in no case does it make sense to speak as if his role is to force submission. Rather it is to strengthen and uplift, to make people feel that they are the origins, not the pawns, of the socio-political system.” P. 437

“The most tangible act of leadership is the creation of an institution—a nation, a social movement, a political party, a bureaucracy—that continues to exert moral leadership and foster needed social change long after the creative leaders are gone. An institution, it is said, is but the lengthened shadow of a man, but it takes many men and women to establish lasting institutions.” P. 454

“All leadership is goal-oriented. The failure to set goals is a sign of faltering leadership. Successful leadership points in a direction; it is also the vehicle of continuing and achieving purpose.” P. 455

Transforming leadership is elevating. It is moral but not moralistic. Leaders engage with followers, but from higher levels of morality; in the enmeshing of goals and values both leaders and followers are raised to principled levels of judgment. Leaders most effectively ‘connect with’ followers from a level of morality only one stage higher than that of the followers, but moral leaders who act at much higher levels…relate to followers at all levels either heroically or through the founding of ass movements that provide linkages between persons at various levels of morality and sharply increase the moral impact of the transforming leader. Much of this kind of elevating leadership asks sacrifices from followers rather than merely promising them goods.” P. 455

“The ultimate test of practical leadership is the realization of intended, real change that meets people’s enduring needs.” P. 461


At Saturday, December 04, 2010 11:16:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic Book... Got to your site via looking up something said in Part II. Interesting background that you have and also posted these insightful quotes. Bravo to you, let's give "Praise to the Lord"


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