Critical and Philosophical Reflections
Edited by Leah Tomkins
Chapter 3: The caring leader: an exploration of family archetypes
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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