“On leadership” was written by John W. Gardner (The Free Press, New York, 1990). He used seventeen chapters to explain and describe essential components for the leadership should be in a successful organization. This book not only has significant influence now, but also for the future. Below are my understanding about this book, which was divided into two parts. For the first part, I will pick up some perspectives which influence me most from this book. For the second part, which is my comments and critique about this book.
Part one: Literature review
First of all, in the first Chapter, he made a clear definition about leadership. He wrote, “Leadership is the process of persuasion or example by which an individual induces a group to pursue objectives held by the leader and his followers.” In this precise sentence, he pointed that four indispensable parts in one organization: leader, team member, target, belief. He regarded leader doesn’t refer to an individual, but the leadership team, because no individual has all the skills to solve different difficulties.
Secondly, in Chapter 2 and 3, Gardner pointed out that, “the relationship between leaders and followers varies from one culture to another.” He thought there existing the role exchange between leader and followers. He used a simple example to illustrate this point, which is a professor would be a follower in community affairs, and he also would be a leader in a particular academic area. Because Gardener though that “follower” is too passive, so he used “constituent” instead of “follower”. Gardener strongly thought that “good constituents tend to produce good leaders.” In the rest of this book, Gardener mainly focus on three tasks, one task made a clear discussion about the role of each constituent, second task talked about the relationship between leader and constituent, third task mainly around to answer a question that “how to make the constituent more strength during the actual organization operation”.
Thirdly, after talked about every element in one organization, Gardner highlights the importance of put everything together, that is “the knitting together”. So he focused on “how to do” in Chapter 10, by using networking, resolving conflict, coalition building, networks of responsibility, and impact on elected officials, these several ways. From my understanding in this chapter, the author regarded to set up communication with the outside of the world is essential for an organization. For networking aspect, author thought many organizations (groups) fail to achieve its goal because they didn’t build up a closed communication mechanism in organization operating. Author encouraged leaders “build outside networks of allies in the many other segments of society whose cooperation is required for a significant result.” For conflict resolution aspect, author thought that every leader must face with the task of dealing with conflict, because of...