Critical and Philosophical Reflections
Edited by Leah Tomkins
This chapter considers caring leadership through the twin prisms of Negative Capability and Care of the Self, arguing that an aspiration to practise caring leadership involves a commitment to the development of self-knowledge and the capacity to be without. It presents an example of leadership in the prison service to illustrate how a phenomenological inquiry into one’s experience of self may serve to heighten the quality of attention that leaders give in complex situations. In a sector increasingly dominated by systems and driven by targets and performance indicators, this case reveals a dedication to re-humanising leadership by challenging the organisation to recognise that being human matters. This means developing a capacity for courage, trust and care in order to make decisions that are not driven by personal agendas, universal regulations of so-called best practice, or the fear of failure.
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