A Life Full of Meaning. Some Suggestions and Some Material by R. W. J. Keeble

By R. W. J. Keeble

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It will no doubt have been noted that a number of factors for above-average leadership depend substantially on communication within the group and between the leader and the group. It is not simply a question of passing more accurate information in both directions, but of greater friendliness, less hostility arising from misunderstanding, better cohesion and better will to produce results. At first sight authoritarian structures might seem to facilitate communication, but in fact they are more likely to inhibit the kind that stirs individuals to group feeling and group action.

Another is intelligence above the average of the group, but not so far as to remove the leader from being regarded as a real member. Practical competence (knowing the job on which the group is engaged) is clearly of some importance too, and we can hardly envisage adults engaged in youth work who are totally incompetent in terms of some skill or at least some interest in the things that young people like to do. This need not of course imply high-grade ability in, for example, coaching activities, but research does seem to show that practical competence helps to promote the mutual acceptability of the group and the leader.

Their study lays considerable emphasis not so much on specula2 Ross, M. , and Hendry, C. , New Understandings of Leadership, Association Press, New York, 1957. LEADERSHIP UNDER SCRUTINY 35 tion about ideal leadership qualities as on gathering data about leadership acts in practice and on research to test hypotheses arising both from the facts and from theory. They distinguish three types of leadership: (i) the person who has achieved prominence by unique attainment, who is ahead of his group; (ii) the person who by designation has been given an official status, who is then the head of his group; and (iii) the person who emerges in a given situation in ways the group recognises as needed, that is, one who is a head of his group.

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