Daniel R.

Stout Last Leadership Paper December 5, 2005 Gayle Spencer While most people will probably be saying that they learned something about the ethics and the morality of leadership, I won’t tell you that I learned that from this class. This might have to do with the fact that I took the leadership classes out of order and was already introduced with all of the concepts put forward in this class and especially how communication is attributed to those concepts. Regardless, I thought I was originally going to have to stretch to find something to talk about, but I’ve discovered something else in the last week of this class. Power is so fluid and can change so quickly that its an extremely dangerous thing. I’ll point to a specific example that while it worked out for an acceptable grade, could’ve been disastrous not only for my grade but everyones. It all starts with the group project of this class. When discussing what our topic should be we were not coming up with any kind of ideas. Then I chimed in, making Truth Claims and appealing to an ethic that should be accepted by the group, power was quickly transferred to me as a result of my suggestion of a project that focuses on the different learning styles and how leaders need to focus and appeal to each of the learning styles. There we decided to be non-traditional in our presentation of the content of our project, we agreed then on a play, like Seseme Street, where we could not only mock the actual show but hide insults and place inside jokes in the play that would take jabs at other groups and different ideas we disagreed with. Time rolled on and we were the last group to go, mind you because of different obligations and problems that people would be facing that the ability to work on this project would be very limited before it came down to crunch time. This wasn’t seen as a big problem. We were cynical, smart and can think on our feet easily. While this crunch time was encroaching I took the initiative to establish that crunch time was coming and we needed to get working. The group responded by stepping up and getting to work. At this point the group still had me as the person with the power concentration of the group, or the leader.

The group meetings seemed to go the same way, as we evaluated options and I made key concessions and defended certain truth statements in order to chuggin along with the project. This also had the effect of keeping power in my court. This power was used to keep the optimism of the group high and ensure that everyone was happy and on task well enough to get the play written. Now the main concession made we all agreed to was that everyone needed to be prepared, IE we needed one night of practice. This was going to occur the next night. Fine, not an issue, until I come down with a cold. I ran a fever of 102-103 all day that day. This made it impossible to have the energy that was needed in order practice the play, or even be around people. This caused me to hand out the copies of our play and for me to leave. Here is where the topic of the papers takes off, because I was the epicenter of the power in the group when I’m not there, I’m not able to exert my power. This power was keeping the group together and keeping the ideas free flowing and keeping the hegemonic idea of the play as the number one option and the number one priority that must be made to work. With me gone the group established a new set of truth statements to affirm. This new affirmation of statements lead to the presentation that was what you saw. Rowland Blieker put it best in his book studying international affairs. In which he states :
“We speak when we are awake and when we are asleep, even when we do not utter a single word. We speak when we listen, read or silently persue an occupation. We are always speaking because we cannot think without language, because 'language is the house of Being', the home within which we dwell. But langugages are never neutral. They embody particular values and ideas. They are an integral part of tranversal power relations and of global politics in general.”

This is why leaders must always be there, they must be present, because when they are gone there is a void in power. This void in power becomes filled by new statements of truth, which create power that can divert what the leaders goals and intentions are. While it worked out for the best in this class, it is something that must always be observed and something that must always be watched, because as Foucault says, power is dangerous. We must always analyze and watch its effects. That’s what I learned from this class, that power relations can change quicker than I ever imagined.