A New Look at Old Questions, Second Edition
Chapter 8: How do leaders judge what is a responsible course of action?
This chapter asks two interrelated questions. First, how do leaders judge what is a responsible course of action? Second, how do others judge what constitutes responsibility in leadership action? The argument put forward is that thinking with Hannah Arendt deepens our comprehension of what it might mean to lead responsibly. She encourages us to recognize that leading in a responsible manner is, above all, a judgment call. From an Arendtian perspective, to judge responsibly requires a leader to consider each issue from multiple viewpoints. Thus, a measured response requires a willingness to approach an issue from diverse perspectives, and to engage in the kind of reflection that is critical to responsible leadership. Yet although it may appear easy to determine when a leader is acting responsibly, there are times when such determination is not clear-cut. To explore this tension, the chapter examines a political scandal in Canadian politics.
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