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July 30, 2012 / compassioninpolitics

Criticizing Friedman’s Theory of Differentiated Leadership

Friedmans negative view of relational triangles is seems very static. Sure these triangles can be abused, but sometimes they are just a form of influence against troubling behavior. The second person stands in to be objective. So is someone who goes to court or a mediator after an inability to solve a conflict equally problematic? Sometimes this is the definition of leadership.

Also, his understanding of cells vs. humans isn’t 100% analogous–which leads to bad assumptions.
1) Leadership is sometimes like leading unlike (for instance the claim for diversity in cognitive styles and perspectives in groups)
2) Leadership often has vertical components
3) The cellular model may not fully take into account how humans choose and lead.

I do like the idea of addressing self-control and fear. Balancing these two is huge in terms of making good decisions in life and leadership.

Those who do so do generally end up becoming leaders–but in the short run–I’m not sure that is all that leadership is (it creates a halo effect around a particular way of being a leader–its necessary but insufficent for being an influential leader). His theory is probably more nuanced and complex than I think.

This is based on this summary of Friedman’s differentiated leadership.

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