Standards Redux

Do I sound like an old fogey when I speak about, write about, leaders as professionals? Leaders that are expected to, even required to, live up to the standards, the high standards, that we expect of professionals?

If yes, I am not alone. Here’s a not-so-old voice sounding the same sentiments. On November 16, David Brooks wrote in the New York Times about conservatism in America.

If conservatism is ever to recover it has to achieve two large tasks. First, it has to find a moral purpose large enough to displace the lure of blood-and-soil nationalism. Second, it has to restore standards of professional competence and reassert the importance of experience, integrity, and political craftsmanship. When you take away excellence and integrity, loyalty to the great leader is the only currency that remains.

Notice the explicit association between high “standards” and “professional competence.” When I reference professionalizing leadership this is, above all, what I intend also to suggest. That to professionalize the pedagogy of learning to lead is, by definition, to improve the pedagogy of learning to lead. The content of the pedagogy is less important than the process of the pedagogy – which ought absolutely similarly imply “excellence and integrity.”

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