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Rita A. Gardiner

What constitutes caring leadership within a university environment? In addressing this question, I examine current discussions on care, leadership and higher education before turning to explore Hannah Arendt’s ideas about care, which was an important aspect of her relational approach to leadership. She was adamant that this kind of leadership was rarely found in universities, further arguing that a kind of professional deformation pervaded academia, encouraging self-interest rather than collective well-being. Some professors live in a fantasy world, Arendt argued, failing to recognize how their actions demonstrate a care for self over a care for others. After exploring discourses of care and leadership, I illustrate her claim by examining how Martin Heidegger’s leadership actions demonstrate how privileging a particular vision can result in carelessness toward others. Finally, I show how an Arendtian approach offers insight into what it might mean to lead caringly.

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Rita A. Gardiner

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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Faith Wambura Ngunjiri and Rita A. Gardiner