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Who said Leadership theory Kant be as simple as 1,2,3

October 29, 02:15 pm - 02:55 pm AEST

Leadership is most certainly a practical skill that can only be truly learnt through practice, experience and more often than not failure. For the average person starting that journey, there is however clearly value in exploring theories and the experience of those who have gone before them.

In our digital world the sheer volume of content available to an individual seeking this better understanding of leadership is immense, and often obscured with the hype of polished marketing content of online influencers looking to cash in. Additionally, the people who dominate brand recognition in this market are usually C Suite executives, Military Generals, or captains of elite sports teams, who’s experience, while interesting, has very little relevance to a 32-year-old who after years of hard work has been asked to lead their first project team of 5 people and desperately wants it to go well.

When it comes to leadership guidance, our emerging professionals looking for love in all the wrong places. Its all online, and its predominately driven by algorithms not insight.

Alternatively, this presentation will seek to use the seminal philosopher Immanuel Kant as inspiration, to offer a 90% leadership solution for the vast majority people who need to be supported not influenced.

Leadership theory in 1,2,3….

In the late 1700s Kant famously proposed 3 simple rules for happiness: something to do, someone to love & something to hope for.

While the concept of psychological wellness is certainly a multi-dimensional and complex idea on which there has been much learned study, distilling the essence of the topic into an elegant 90% solution does represent an inherent wisdom that modern texts with hundreds of pages rarely deliver.

Perhaps Kant’s rules on happiness could similarly offer a simplified understanding of leadership that could provide clarity for 90% of today’s leaders. This presentation will therefore explore 3 simple leadership principles distilled from Kant’s rules:

  1. Leaders should enable the people in their team to work effectively together on meaningful work,
  2. Leaders should grow an environment where the people within the team feel a sense of fellowship with their colleagues, and
  3. Leaders should develop a set of shared ambitions for the team of what they want to achieve with their efforts into the future.

For something so inherently ineffable, perhaps framing a leadership theory into a 1, 2, 3 offers just enough clarity to those starting their leadership journey today.

Principal Portfolio Officer, Brisbane City Council
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