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Joanne B. Ciulla
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Joanne B. Ciulla

Joanne Ciulla is Professor and Coston Family Chair in Leadership and Ethics at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, University of Richmond, the only undergraduate degree-granting school of leadership studies in the world.

Earning Isn't Leading

Plato made a simple argument about crafts and wages that sheds light on the failure of some leaders on Wall Street. He write, "Medicine provides health, and wage-earning provides wages; house-building provides a house, and the wage-earning that accompanies it provides a wage." His argument extends to leadership.

The craft of leadership focuses on producing benefit to others, not the leader. Like medicine and house building, the craft of leading is not about earning wages. Wall Street often equates people who know how to earn high wages with people who know how to lead. It believes that market systems, not value systems, are the best way to choose leaders. The first step towards building new leaders in the financial sector entails searching for competent people who care about the craft of leadership, not the size of their paycheck.

By Joanne B. Ciulla

 |  September 16, 2009; 6:59 AM ET
Category:  Economic crisis Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Whitehead observed that the history of Western philosophy is a series of footnotes to Plato. But philosophy is no fun. It's for eggheads...excess baggage that gets in the way of that all-American pursuit - unrestrained ego aggrandisement. Why pay attention to that passe old fuddy-duddy Plato, when we can sup on hogslop dished up by midgets like Glen Beck who will live out his entire life without producing one idea that is worth a moment's consideration? Don't worry yourselves about philosophy, America. It just muddies things and you won't feel good about yourselves anymore.

Posted by: bknecht | September 17, 2009 7:43 PM
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Wouldn't it be great if this thought would be widely read by people in all diciplines?
Particularly by healthcare providers as we continue the current debate.

Posted by: agreed | September 17, 2009 12:15 PM
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Would that the Republican "leadership" subscribed to this philosophy!

Posted by: Geezer4 | September 17, 2009 10:49 AM
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"The first step towards building new leaders in the financial sector entails searching for competent people who care about the craft of leadership, not the size of their paycheck."
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Excellent point!

Posted by: rohitcuny | September 17, 2009 8:24 AM
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