Paradox and Power in Caring Leadership
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Paradox and Power in Caring Leadership

Critical and Philosophical Reflections

Edited by Leah Tomkins

Why does it matter that our leaders care about us? What might we reasonably expect from a caring leader, and what price are we prepared to pay for it? Is caring leadership something ‘soft’, or can it be linked to strategy and delivery? International scholars from the fields of ancient and modern philosophy, psychology, organization studies and leadership development offer a strikingly original debate on what it means for leaders to care.
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Chapter 3: The caring leader: an exploration of family archetypes

Yiannis Gabriel

Abstract

This chapter discusses the moral standing of leaders from the perspective of followers. Followers expect leaders to be competent, knowledgeable, to have visions, to build strong teams and so forth. Beyond these expectations, however, followers also expect their leaders to provide moral leadership. The chapter will demonstrate that the criteria used to judge leaders are rooted in fantasy and myth, as well as early life experiences that leave lasting residues. This helps to explain why followers judge their leaders by harsher, black-or-white standards than they tend to judge other people, creating saints or sinners out of them. These elemental criteria are archetypes (Jung, 1968), of which an especially significant one is that of the caring leader, epitomized in images like that of Christ as a good shepherd. Leaders will always be judged by their followers against their ability to demonstrate that they care.

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