NOTRE DAME JOURNAL OF EDUCATION: Spring 1973, Vol.4, No.1
Killam Senior Fellow, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia
It is remarkably hard to make any satisfactory statement about leadership. Everybody knows that leaders lead, that leaders lead followers, that followers follow leaders. What more needs to be said? It is as plain as the proverbial pikestaff. I am reminded of Augustine’s reply on being asked what time is: “I know, until you ask me.” We all know what leadership is, until asked. Perhaps a difficulty arises because leaders are not asked questions, they ask of others and it is only followers who respond. Or perhaps we imagine that by answering we will, in some mysterious way, convey not only the answer but also the secret power that makes us leaders. To give the answer would be to surrender our potency. Or perhaps we just do not know.
The situation is distinctly curious and worthy of further exploration. In the first place, it seems clear that leaders and followers are characteristic human roles not essentially related to any particular activity in which we engage. Any human activity which requires one or more groups seems to provide an opportunity for there to be leaders and followers. Leader and follower are human roles which exist in any group, no matter for what purpose that group has been brought together, no matter for what purpose the group members suppose that they have been brought together, no matter for what purpose the group members wish they had been brought together.
If leader and follower are roles that are so common as to exist in any and every group, it is certainly worth reflecting why we find it so hard to make many statements about them. It is clearly not lack of experience of the roles. Perhaps it is because they are so fundamental, so basic to our way of life, that we just take them for granted, and (like the Eskimo who supposedly has no single word for snow, because the fact of snow is so omnipresent that a single word would tell nothing that was not already well known) we find it necessary to talk about leadership in more specific terms, such as general, quarterback, skipper and principal.
This point of view would suggest that leader-follower pattern of human relationships within groups is a kind of matrix out of which arises the success of groups in task accomplishment and also out of which arise the interpersonal and intergroup problems from which we never seem to escape. Any mode of social organization brings with it, because of its structure, certain strengths and weaknesses, and it might well be asked if a social pattern not based upon the leader-follower model would be more suited to our present needs. The answer is difficult to give, simply because there is no alternative to the leader-follower model which readily comes to mind. One can think of modifications of the leader-follower model that might well be of service, but to think of human action in groups without it altogether seems impossible. Is that in the nature of things, or is it simply the limitation of our thought?
Another factor militating against clarity of thought is the common ambivalence we feel with respect to leadership. On the one hand, we often desire the prestige and pomp that attend a leadership position, but, on the other hand, we feel somewhat ashamed to be interested in self-advancement. Often the feeling is stronger than shame; it is guilt, arising from the fact that we desire a position that is not rightfully ours, a position that in some strange way belongs to somebody else. Occasionally, such feelings are so strong that they preclude us from even contemplating the possibility of being in a leadership role. In any case, nothing is so well calculated to make the passions rise as a discussion of the leader-follower pattern of social organization. If that is doubted, it could be formulated differently by saying that we all have feelings about authority.
This suggests that our inability to say very much about leadership may, in fact, be a kind of protection through ignorance. The social pattern of leader and follower is not simply an object for dispassionate investigation; it engages our deepest and strongest passions. We would prefer not to be reminded of it, but if we are, then we can pretend that there is no problem, or that there is no problem for us.
The engagement of our feelings in the pattern of leadership, with respect to authority, is clearly an outcome of our early experience in the family structure. The insights of psychoanalysis have added a great deal to our understanding of how and why this happens, but it is curious how many of those insights have been common knowledge, expressed in metaphor, as it were, in myth and poetry. A rapid glance at Western philosophic writings will not yield much in the way of discussion of the leader, except in those avowedly political treatises such as the Republic, and The Prince. And yet, if we consider the imaginative literature of our civilization it is hard to think of a play or a novel or an epic which is not implicitly about leadership. Whether we consider Oedipus Rex or Agamemnon, whether King Lear or Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, whether Paradise Lost or The Divine Comedy, whether we consider War and Peace or Ulysses, we find ourselves having to face, with the author and his characters, the problem of leadership.
In this connection, it is worth remembering that one of the earliest literary work the Iliad, sets out to answer in its action, the question of whether honor is conventional or natural, or, more precisely, whether Agamemnon, King of Men, or Zeus is the source of honor. Achilles, knowing himself to be the best warrior, cannot accept Agamemnon as the dispenser of honor, particularly after being slighted by him, and so he stays out of the battle until the Achaians are about to be destroyed. At this point, Agamemnon is persuaded to ask Achilles to return to the battle, which means that even if Agamemnon holds honor in his hand, the force of events requires him to distribute it in certain ways. Honor is not a free gift from the King of Men, he is controlled by higher powers. Rhetorically and politically before the host of the Achaians, Agamemnon has been shown to be wrong. But for Achilles, the question has ceased to be a struggle with Agamemnon for pride of place, and has become a searching for the origin of honor in the fabric of the universe itself. This is an inquiry worthy of the warrior with the greatest courage. He finds the universe undetermined but determinable, depending upon his own action, but while contemplating this perhaps unexpected outcome, Achilles allows his friend Patroclus, wearing his armor, to protect the Achaians. Patroclus beats back the Trojans, but exceeds the limits set by Achilles, and is killed by Hector. Achilles, his new arms fashioned by the gods and, protected by the shield symbolic of the universe, fights Hector and kills him, thus ensuring the destruction of sacred Ilium, an event which he knows he will not live to see.
It is not hard to find in this the question of the relation between governance and excellence. Should the best man rule? And best in what sense? That Achilles is better than Agamemnon as a warrior and as a human being, it would be hard to deny, but it is by no means clear that the consequence is that Achilles could or should have been King of Men. It is not possible to make the art of war the architectonic art, as Coriolanus, at a later time, discovered. Would Achilles, with his newly won understanding, define anew the art of ruling? We shall never know, and all we do know is that, in Achilles’ case, whatever he learned about honor and kingly rule, his wrath would not allow him to disengage himself from the affairs of men. Later, however, Plato took up the theme and claimed that the best city would be ruled by those pre-eminent in wisdom, and if in various dialogues we see the philosopher as gadfly, as midwife, as torpedo fish, as lover, and as sophist, there is no doubt that in the Republic we see him as king,
Led by Achilles and Plato, the Western political tradition has been haunted by the possibility of combining reason and power in the same agent. Since people cannot possibly know their own interests, it is assumed, we need some specially trained experts who will know the interests of each and of all, and will act in accordance with them. At its noblest, this kind of view seems to suppose that most people are like children, lovable perhaps but unknowing and irresponsible, who need to be guided, persuaded and coerced into the paths of righteousness by the rulers, who have struggled long and hard to understand what is best for each one and for the commonweal. The ruler is like a loving but firm parent (mostly masculine), who knows what is best for his children. This metaphor brings us back to the family, and the fact that the basic model for the leadership role is provided by the father.
Without wishing to be disrespectful to an ancient institution, I would imagine that from the child’s point of view father is more noted for his power than his wisdom. Certainly, father knows how to do things, and how to get things done, but the know-how is not intelligible to the child (even when it is to the father) and it has all the appearance of magic; this, coupled with the parental exercise of will, of sheer force, provides the child with an unmistakable vision of what it means to be a ruler. To rule means to control, it means to make the immediate world, and particularly the people of the world, into a whole, into a system, organized with respect to the ruler, with all the appearance (not always justified) of serving the ruler’s pleasure. Parents often put a good face on difficult decisions, but perhaps they would be wiser to allow children to share in the frustration and pain and struggle of decision-making instead of imagining that the world is run for parents. Unless, of course, it is.
The childish fantasy of leadership is comparable to the self-styled change-agents. When the world needs adjustment, it is always the leader who adjusts everyone else; change is for followers. The educational consequences of this fantasy are disastrous, for it suggests very strongly that the power of the leadership role is to be used to prevent the leader from having to learn. There is little to suggest in the conduct of those occupying leadership positions in our society that they operate on anything but this fantasy and, of all recent Presidents, Harry Truman deserves greatest respect for the simple reason that he used the awesome office that he held as an opportunity for learning. Of course, there are those who would say that we cannot afford a President who needs to learn, and certainly we have a right to expect that a Presidential candidate should know something, even a great deal, but basically the view is infantile since it assumes that the leader must be (or must be held to be) omniscient. We are now beginning to ask whether we can afford a President who thinks he knows.
The second educational consequence of the childish perception of power is that children make an early commitment to becoming teachers. One function that schools serve is to separate children from total dependence upon their families. A new, extra-familial authority enters their lives, to counterbalance the power of the family which has to acknowledge the rightful authority of the school, since it is public. The child gets additional support for liberation from the power of his peers, who are organized into groups by the school itself. Schools wean children from their families, and those who propose the abolition of schools must consider how this might otherwise be done.
Children, who have most readily fallen into a pattern of psychological dependency upon their parents, usually maintain the pattern in schools, merely changing the personnel, as it were, substituting the teacher for the parents. But this has a built-in dynamic for learning, since it is only a question of time before the two authorities, parents and teachers, are brought into conflict, and then the child is left to determine which is the higher authority, and how to live with the decision or he may reject both as authorities. This can be very painful for the child, but it provides an opportunity for growth into self-reliance. This kind of learning is structurally determined and is inevitable, but it can be minimized if the parents decide (consciously or not) to adopt a ‘spheres of influence’ doctrine, in which school and family are totally separate and unrelated. The problem with the early choice of teaching as a profession is simply that the child is and must be choosing a fantasy on the basis of fantasy. He does not understand the role of the teacher but merely finds satisfaction and relief from anxiety in dependency relationships, and the price he must pay for the continuation of the pattern is to assume the responsibility for maintaining it, that is, by assuming the other role available within the dependency relation. Perhaps this is why teachers are not always good leaders, although this should not be seen as a criticism. Given the structure of our society, how could it be otherwise? What is reprehensible is that this is not a dimension of learning dealt with in professional training.
To say that teachers are not always good leaders, however, seems to carry with it the presupposition that to lead means to bring about change in some way. Certainly, leadership is often thought to be progressive, hi the sense of going somewhere, but it could be viewed differently. If the Red Queen is correct, it takes a lot of energy to stay where you are, notably when everything around you is moving, and perhaps the teacher’s function is more conservative, in that it maintains the existing distribution of power, the existing dependency relationships, during a time of rapid change. This, surely, is leading, although some people might object to the direction (a word which again exhibits the prejudice we have about leading going somewhere). Perhaps it should be ‘lack of direction.’
The connotations of the word ‘lead’ do indicate motion, and, in my view, physical motion. The first connotation has to do with motion across land, geographical movement. Moses was a leader, leading the chosen people through the wilderness to the promised land; it is, perhaps, significant that he only reached the borders of that land, and it was left for Joshua to enter with the children of Israel. The image suggests a commitment to the soil which would only be possible if an agricultural life were dominant rather than a nomadic one. For nomads, the leadership function would have to be connected with indicating the time and direction of movement, and its magnitude. But for a pastoral or agricultural people, what would leadership mean? It would almost certainly not mean encouraging change of place, but rather an observance of the temporal rhythm upon which crops depend. And what would leadership mean in an industrial society? I must confess that there is a suspicion in my mind that I still hanker after a manifestation of leadership appropriate to the nomadic way of life. But the guidance of movement for nomads, if done correctly, is the source of their continued existence, for it speaks to the task that they depend on. It does not speak to our task.
The second connotation of leading has to do with battle. The leader leads us into battle, going first, leading the charge, as it were. The last English king to lead his troops into battle was George II at Dettingen in 1743, which is surprisingly recent. Nowadays, commanders in chief are protected from such hazardous adventures, and they tend to operate from behind desks. Do they lead? Are they like the celebrated Duke of Plaza-Toro? It should be added that if one function of leadership is to make us fight, it is also true that another function is to remove us from danger, on occasions. Perhaps the greatest tribute to the leadership qualities of Napoleon was the retreat from Moscow.
Upon reflection, I cannot suppose that these thoughts, vague and ill-defined in my mind as they are, can contribute very much to our understanding of leadership. All they do, perhaps, is to indicate the primitive point from which I, and probably many others, begin. The image of the leader seems derived from a nomadic way of life, long since past, and its means of survival, together with attitudes and values appropriate to a world of social conflict, competition, hostility and aggression. What does leadership mean in an industrial society of enormous population? And what does leadership mean in a cooperative commonwealth?
There are, I think, two essential functions that are involved in the exercise of leadership. The first of these is what Bion calls the primary task, or the work task. Every human group has a task that justifies its existence, upon the execution of which depends its survival. This primary or work task is known, it is public, and partly for that reason, and partly because it is geared to reality, it can be characterized as rational. The work task is the declared purpose for which the group has been called into existence, so that its own members (and also other groups) have an understanding of the whole purpose to which they will contribute a part. The leadership role with respect to the work task is to ensure that it is well-known by the group members, the followers, and also by other groups, that such work task is appropriately related to reality, that it is continually redefined as circumstances warrant, and that the resources of the group are arranged and organized so as to achieve efficiency in work task accomplishment. In addition, leadership must take account of important needs of the group—whether in terms of materials or of new personnel—and of relations with coordinate groups engaged in related enterprises. The leader is like a chairman, perhaps, who makes sure that the written agenda is available to the committee or board members, together with supportive material, and that the business of the agenda is despatched.
The second function involved in leadership has to do with what might be called the unwritten agenda, in contradistinction to the written agenda of the leader as Chairman of the Board. Every member of the work task group, that is, every member of the group insofar as he is contributing to the accomplishment of the work task gets satisfaction from the accomplishment. This is the satisfaction to which he is legitimately entitled, the professional satisfaction which we all hope to enjoy, the satisfaction which comes from doing what we said we would do, from carrying out the agenda. But each of us, as a group member, also has an unwritten agenda, not publicly stated but private, not conscious but unconscious, not explicit but implicit, not related to work task performance but to personal satisfaction. We have all sat in a committee meeting where one member is clearly using the group as a way of reassuring himself of his own worth and importance. That is not on the official, the written agenda; the group did not come together to do that. We have all been at meetings where the written agenda item is used by one member to settle scores with another; again, the item on the official agenda was not meant to provide a battleground for hostile members, but it did. We have all been at meetings in which the business advanced very slowly, if at all, because it was systematically delayed by references to the past, starting with a long and intricate amending of the minutes of the last meeting. All these examples indicate that groups are used, inevitably, for the achievement of personal and private satisfactions by the members. Each member has his own private, unwritten agenda and he works through it as systematically as the effective chairman works through the public, written agenda.
Leadership, if it is to be effective, must take account of the unwritten agenda. It is not just professional satisfaction that we seek; we also require our very personal anxieties and frustrations to be attended to, to find some kind of expression or resolution, if only for a short time. The leader must recognize, consciously or not, the existence of the unwritten agenda. To become impatient with it, or to claim that it has no validity, is only a way for the leader to claim exclusive right to having an unwritten agenda. In my opinion, success in leadership is intimately bound up with the capacity to detect the unconscious uses to which the group is being put, and if that suggests too much rationality, too much detachment, then I would isolate the capacity to respond to the unwritten agenda.
No group can survive if it only performs its publicly stated task, its work task; the personal needs of the group members will not allow themselves to be banished for long. No group can survive if it devotes itself exclusively to relieving the anxieties of its individual members, and generally to handling their unconscious problems; the larger reality that sustains the group will not permit indefinite social uselessness. The leader, then, is faced with the task of bringing the two into some sort of compatibility. He must recognize the need for both the written and the unwritten agenda, and for the satisfactions appropriate to each. He becomes really skillful, sophisticated, when he can utilize the energy invested in the unwritten agenda to further the business of the written agenda, the primary task.
The life of any group is complex and ever-changing, so that it is difficult to lay down detailed rules, but since we all belong to groups there is no shortage of learning opportunities. All we need do is to apply the concepts of the written and unwritten agendas and, when the events cannot be understood in terms of the written agenda, to begin to construct from the observed effects what the items on the various unwritten agendas must be. Once this kind of analysis becomes habitual, it is time to consider how the power of the unconscious can be utilized to support the conscious.
There is one other danger that perhaps should be explicated. Part of the fantasy about leadership which originates in early childhood is that leaders are better than, are superior to their followers. There are few followers like the nobles of Aragon who took an oath of allegiance to their kings beginning with the words, ‘We, who are no worse than you, swear to you, who are no better than us.. . .’ Followers, for the most part, are quite content to allow their leaders to affect superiority, within reason at least, and it is sometimes worth reflecting that it may be because they know better. When asked to assume a role which is supposed to be a leadership position, it is well to ask oneself what particular expertise one has that would prompt such a request. After making due allowance for modesty, it should be possible to justify the request in terms of increased primary task performance on the part of the group. If this is not the case, it may well be that the promotion is not in terms of the written agenda at all, but in terms of the unwritten agenda. The consequence of this is that the leader is in fact under the control of the followers, and if his future behavior belies this, then he will be ousted. It might be better not to accept the position. It is not possible to understand the appointments that are made to leadership positions, in many cases, unless one bears in mind the needs of the unwritten agenda.
A final word about the primary task, the work task. It is not often that leadership fails because of lack of understanding about the work task. The amount of knowledge needed, in any given case, is remarkably small. Knowledge for the accomplishment of the task is almost always available in the group, and the leadership task is to coordinate and direct it. The skills are essentially interpersonal, social and managerial rather than technical. In fact, leadership fails quite frequently because it has too great an understanding of the primary task, and can, therefore, promote efficiency but at the cost of the unwritten agendas. This is not popular.
If the foregoing remarks are accepted, the task of the leader is to organize and mobilize the available energy for the accomplishment of the publicly stated work task, while at the same time ensuring that the emotional life of the group does not endanger the group’s survival (by consuming too much energy) but is nevertheless satisfying to the group membership.
The leader has two, and only two, basic psychological mechanisms by which his leadership can be effected and obviously these psychological mechanisms must have counterparts in the followers. Both are forms of identification, which is not surprising when we recall the degree of unity required between the group and its leader, and between the group members. They need to be cohesive if they are to be effective, they need what might be called a group identity.
The first psychological mechanism of leadership may be called identification through projection. This means that a leader is a leader, is actually leading, because those who are characterized as followers surrender a part of themselves and deposit it, as it were, in the leader. They give up a part of themselves, they put it or project it into the leader, who then exercises that capacity, that power, for them, resembling the specialization of labor, in which each does part. This is a very obvious and very common mechanism, and we have all seen it at work. The best example, perhaps, is the army. In the army, it is not the humble soldier’s task to direct himself and the service as a whole towards some immediate objective, let alone towards some ultimate goal such as victory. It is not his business to think, to gather intelligence, to plan strategy, to arrange for supplies, and to take care of all the logistical affairs that support the individual soldier. That is not his job. He is not expected to think very much, and certainly not about such things as strategy. The soldier surrenders his intelligence with respect to these matters, and the intelligence function is carried on for him by his superior officers. He is supposed to know how to point his rifle and to fire it so that he hits a target. His officers will tell him where to point it, what the target is, and when to shoot. The soldiers identify with their officer, their leader, because he exercises a power, a function for them and without it they are incomplete. They identify with each other because they have all surrendered the same power to the leader.
The second psychological mechanism of leadership is, in a sense, the converse of identification through projection. In this case, the leader exhibits in some way certain beliefs, certain capacities, certain values which the followers take into themselves. Instead of giving something up, the followers add to themselves, they become like the leader. In the former case, the soldier was not expected to be like the officer; they were different but complementary roles. If the army is the prime example of identification through projection, then the Christian church provides the model for this second leadership mechanism, which may be called identification through introjection. Freud describes these two examples of the Army and the Church, pointing out that the Christian takes Christ into himself as his ideal and identifies himself with Him, and that the soldier replaces his own ideal with the leader, who becomes his ideal. The ideal is internal in introjection, and external in projection, but in both cases the ideal is followed.
Although there are only these two psychological mechanisms, it should not be thought that a leader or a follower is exclusively committed to one or the other. On the contrary, the skillful and resourceful leader should be able to employ either mechanism as the occasion warrants. Followers, too, being human, are mostly able to respond to both forms of ideal, so that the value we place on the mechanisms must depend upon something beyond their simple effectiveness, for in that they are perhaps equal. On the face of it, identification through projection seems more appropriate for emergency situations in which rapid and determined action is required; it is more appropriate to large groups, which do not have the time, the skill or the inclination, to coordinate their actions. It is easier to be directed, to be told.
From an educational point of view, identification through introjection seems preferable simply because it requires the follower, the student, to grow, to become more than he was while projection requires him to become less. To follow up the example, perhaps the lesson is that the teacher should be more like Christ and less like a general. Although I think this is true, we should bear in mind that not all leadership is exercised on behalf of publicly declared work tasks, and if a leader uses the public domain as a ground on which to work through his own private agenda, both forms of leadership can be exploited. My feeling, which may only be personal, is that identification through projection is more obviously capable of supporting a tyranny. It encourages subjugation, and diminishes the followers so that they are easy prey for continued domination Of course, when survival is at stake, it may be necessary. Yet nothing would be more demoralizing than followers who had internalized a fake, a humbug. Perhaps, the judgment is personal, based on susceptibilities.
The leadership problem of the teacher is twofold. First, he is a leader of a learning group, the class, but he himself is a follower with respect to his department chairman and principal, and ultimately with respect to his superintendent of schools. It may well be that his behavior as a follower needs to be different from his behavior as a leader, not in the obvious sense that follower and leader are different roles, but in the sense that different identification mechanisms are at work. The teacher must learn to absorb the contradiction, and this often requires a lot of energy. Structurally, schools are built on the identification through projection mechanism; students are not supposed to be like principals The rule is essentially ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ The framework, then, of the teacher’s activity exerts pressure upon him. The second aspect of the teacher’s leadership problem is that the students are more familiar with the leadership through projection mechanism than with the introjection mechanism To attempt to use the latter invites a raising of the anxiety level of the students who may easily repudiate the teacher as leader if they cannot pressure him back into the more familiar pattern. The students are not only predisposed to projective leadership, but also they are well aware that this is the prevailing, the preferred mode in schools and in the larger society. This makes the task of teaching very limited, particularly if the teacher is concerned with democratic values.
The teacher who wishes to be a leader in change, must first show himself, his students and his supervisor, that he has mastered the prevailing mode of projection. This must be done in order to demonstrate that the teacher can successfully handle the unwritten agenda, the personal anxieties of his followers as well as of his own leaders. This could be called earning the right to be a leader, but it must be clearly understood that it has nothing to do directly with the work task of the teacher; it is not earned with respect to the written agenda of helping the students to learn. Many teachers feel unable to commit themselves to this, they feel that it is wrong or unjust, that it is hypocritical; they say that they do not wish to be authoritarian. It is possible that such responses indicate that the teacher is not master of himself sufficiently, that he has not adequately freed himself from the fantasy of childhood, and that he is still threatened by the possibility of lapsing into systematic authoritarianism if he practices it at all. But from a realistic appraisal of school situations, it is easy to decide where leadership patterns have produced corresponding follower patterns; a basic principle of leadership, as of education, is that we must take students where they are. We may regret where they are, but that does not permit us to pretend that they are somewhere else.
We have all heard of the ambitious teacher who claims that he will play the game until he has achieved a leadership position, and that then he will change the system. And we all know how many times that has been done. The reason is that such teachers have not had true ideals, in the sense that they have deeply understood the principles of human life and of education; they have had not ideals, but fantasies (at best) and falsehoods (at worst). If we, as teachers, are sure of our principles, if they are the substance of our souls, then we should not worry that the real world is indifferent or even hostile to them. They may never be realized completely, but they can always be realized partially, and that should neither surprise nor dismay us. Our duty as teachers is to free ourselves from the childish fantasies of our early days, and particularly from the fantasy that power will accomplish everything. Teachers often suppose that if only they could control the students, then they would be able to teach them something. Perhaps the teacher could teach, but all the student would learn is that he is not responsible for his own control.
The fatal weakness of control, of power, is that it obscures from us when we have it, or are subject to it, the remarkable fact that the necessary and sufficient condition of living is learning. The difficult nature of Plato’s political and educational views is contained in that paradoxical paradigm, the philosopher-king, who alone is able ‘to give cities a respite from evil.’ It is, of course, well-known that naive interpreters of Plato have turned the philosopher-king either into a dictator (by denying his love of wisdom) or else into a university professor (by denying his potency) and it is, perhaps, ironical that the former distortion is made mostly by the latter, the latter by the former. But if the philosopher-king is a paradigm for all who lead, for all who rule, whether President or mayor, superintendent or principal, it is worthwhile to examine more closely how the combination of political power and philosophy, counterpoised and simultaneously present in one man, can accomplish what Plato uniquely claimed for it. For our concern, like Plato’s, is the governance of the city and the quality of human life possible within it. Or, to put it more bluntly, our concern, like Plato’s, is with the Republic, that is, with the city, with the society, governed in accordance with the good.
We could, at this point, disclaim any knowledge of metaphysics, excuse ourselves, and go about our daily business in the usual way. But this would be to underestimate our abilities and responsibilities, because we do in fact assume, however incorrectly, that we do know something about the good—at least to the extent that it is better to do this than that, in this way rather than that. It may well be true that even in our own minds this good is relative and partial, but we act in accordance with it. Why else do we do what we do?
One good that is clearly open to us is to help others, particularly our students, to understand that identification through projection is not the only mechanism of leadership available to us. However, their understanding, when achieved, should not be only on the intellectual plane; it must show itself in action, and this is only possible if they have experienced it. A second good available to us is contained in the realization that, even if the pattern of leader and follower are eternally with us, the roles do not have to be filled permanently by the same individuals. Authority for getting primary tasks accomplished could be invested in groups, rather than in individuals who can let their authority out on a leash, by delegation. A third good might be the acceptance of the equal worth of leader and follower; we have always been told that followers need leaders, that sheep need shepherds, but we have always been told this by the leaders, by the shepherds. It is high time that it was made clear that shepherds need sheep, that leaders need followers, that doctors need patients and that teachers need students.