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Carving Leaders from the Warped Wood of Humanity - Essay Example

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From the discussion in this essay, it is clear that the author of the article "Carving Leaders from the Warped Wood of Humanity" discusses the relation that exists between altruism and leadership. Altruism is a part of leadership but is not a central moral principle…
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Carving Leaders from the Warped Wood of Humanity
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Carving Leaders from the Warped Wood of Humanity
The author of the article, Carving Leaders from the Warped Wood of Humanity, discusses the relation that exists between altruism and leadership. According to Ciulla (2001) altruism is a part of leadership, but is not a central moral principle. The author made a good job in the article of arguing that a distinction exists between the two concepts. A leader can display leadership within the workplace without the use of altruism. Leadership is a personal trail that allows a person to inspire others and guide their efforts in the workplace, while altruism can be defined as unselfish regard for the well being and welfare of others (Merriam-webster, 2012). A statement made by the author that was very interesting in regards to this discussion was, “We respect leaders who put the interest of the followers first, but most leaders don’t pay a price for doing that on a regular basis, nor do most circumstances require them to calculate their interest in relation to the interest of their followers” (Ciulla, 2001). I agree with the author that managers have to consider many factors and variables in their decision making process that have nothing to do with altruism. The interest of the customers of a company and the community are important to consider, but managers are suppose to maximize shareholders wealth. For that to occur companies have to optimize the use of their economic resources to improve the sales and profits of the company.
My personal opinion in regards to the topic of whether leadership and altruism are correlated concepts differs from the opinion of Joanne Ciulla. I think that altruism can enhance the perception of a company, thus the strategy can be beneficial for the profitability of the company. Altruism is a win-win proposition for all the parties involved. A company that has a true sense of the importance of ethics will make a concerted effort to help interest groups in need through altruism efforts. Altruism can enhance the public image of a corporation. The use of altruism reflects well on the leadership abilities of a manager. Altruism should not be visualized as a cost; instead it should be viewed as a moral and socially responsible way to give back to the community that builds the brand value of a company. Despite my difference of opinion with the author in regards to the relation between these two concepts I agree with the author in that it is possible to be ethically responsible without using altruism. There are lots of ethical decisions that managers must make that do not involve altruism. For example a manager might have to make a tough decision whether to fire a senior employee that is underperforming. The ethical dilemma the author faces in this decision is that if he fires that employee, that individual due to his age might have a hard time finding a job in this tough economy. The ultimate decision the manager makes in this scenario did not have to use altruism in any way.
A few years ago I had a work experience which made me realize the importance of leadership in the workplace. I worked at a start-up company that used a matrix work structure. The project manager in charge of the company along with the ownership team did a terrible job of handling human relations due to a lack of leadership. The company lied to the employees about a performance incentive. The company paid the payroll check late every payment cycle and often there were discrepancies in the checks between the hours worked and hours paid. None of the managers, supervisors, or chief leaders respected the rights of the employees. The phrase “Is a leader’s role to model the virtues of the organization” means that managers must adapt their behavior and work strategies to be aligned with the strengths of the employees.
References
Ciulla, J. (2001). Carving Leaders from the Warped Wood of Humanity. Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, 18(4). 313-319.
Merriam-webster.com (2012). Altruism. Retrieved May 22, 2012 from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/altruism Read More
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