Leadership and Liberation
A Psychological Approach
By Seán Ruth
Routledge – 2005 – 302 pages
How do leaders influence the people around them?
Is leadership about having particular personality traits or is it about what leaders actually do and the types of relationships they build?
This ground-breaking book looks at how to be an effective leader. It presents a model of leadership that has many practical implications for those who occupy formal leadership roles or who seek to influence events informally. This model views leadership as a collaborative, influence process rather than a hierarchical or authoritarian one.
By looking at leadership in the context of liberation, it provides the reader with an alternative perspective, enabling them to think about their own aims and effectiveness as a leader. It analyses our understanding of oppressed and oppressor groups and how processes of mistreatment develop and become institutionalised. From this standpoint, effective leadership is presented as a means of confronting inequality and initiating positive change.
The practical skills required by leaders to assist them in becoming agents of change and influence, and in dealing with the inevitable conflicts that arise in complex interpersonal situations, are considered. The reasons why leaders are targets of attack are also looked into, as well as the situations in which they can act as a positive force for transformation.
Containing an in-depth review of the development of leadership theory, Leadership and Liberation also critically evaluates main-stream approaches and analyses the implications for leaders on the ground. The lessons to be learned are applicable to leaders in all types of groups and organisations and will be of interest to those studying psychology, business and management.
"Leadership and Liberation is thoroughly engaging, with conceptual and methodological issues well integrated. Many authors speak of the primacy of the person in the work place and of developing future leaders but Sean Ruth acknowledges the strengths and the difficulties, opens up learning and inspires the reader. The book is profound but should be fully accessible to the reader." - Dr Concepta Conaty, The Department of Education and Science, Dublin
"[Ruth] strays close to the recently articulated notion of the psychological contract and stretces the leadership and its HR dimension s into new territory. Ruth's book is divided into three sections: the content of leadership, the leadership context and finally strategies and skill. It is a provoking well-written read and its main theme as well as the sections on conflict resolution will be of particular interest to IR and HR practitioners" - Tim Hastings, in Labour Relations Commission Review, Eire, Summer 2006.
"This is a groundbreaking text and will provide inspiration for leaders and aspiring leaders alike. … The writing of this book is itself an act of leadership on the part of the author. Leaders reading this book will gain insight and clarity regarding their role, and find support and wisdom for the task ahead. They will be introduced to new and challenging ideas. They will also have an opportunity to bring these ideas into dialogue with their own experience as the author presents questions for reflection at the end of each chapter. These questions should also prove an invaluable aid to those who might wish to read the book in a study group context. Leadership teams, in my view, would benefit greatly from reading the book in this way. … I recommend this text to all who wish to learn more about and to reflect on their own experience of leadership." - Kevin Egan, Head of Dept. of Behavioural Studies, All Hallows College, Dublin, in Religious Life Review, July 2006.
Part I: The Content of Leadership. Core Functions of Leaders. Other Key Functions of Leaders. Leadership, Authority and Collaboration. Leadership: Character or Competence? Destructive Reactions to Leaders: The Isolation-Attack Dynamic. Handling Attacks on Leaders. Part II: The Leadership Context. Oppression and Leadership. Internalized Oppression. Theories of Internalized Oppression. A Psychology of the Middle Class. Identity and the Process of Liberation. Part III: Strategies and Skills. Change and Influence Strategies. Conflict Resolution Skills. Problem-Solving Skills.