Andrew Pierce, an Oxford Tradition student majoring in International Relations, has written a piece about the talk by Professor Archie Brown that was held yesterday afternoon.
In the present political climate that Oxford Tradition 2017 takes place, the views on leadership and more importantly, effective leadership have come under speculation. With many students at OxTrad interested with leadership and politics, the first lecture given by Professor Archie Brown drew a large crowd.
Titled, “The Strong Leadership Illusion in Dictatorships”, most of the talk dealt with the idea of a strong leader and the detriments of one in not only dictatorships, but also democracies. Focusing on President Trump in the U.S and Prime Minister May in the U.K, Brown states that the idea of one central person making the big decisions ultimately hurts the country and people.
Wars and events such as the Invasion of Egypt in 1956 by Britain, the Iraq War, and arguably the First World War, steamed from a central leader making a decision for the mass of people that hurt his or her country in the long run. The leader, regardless of strength or dominance, has the main purpose of persuading others to carry out policy, Brown argues. Dominating leaders, such as dictators, force others to carry out policy and close the door to any discussions.
Brown’s solution to this is to promote strong collective leadership. When the power is shared and big decisions are made by the collective, the nation, in most cases does better than a central leader. If a nation does have a central leader, he or she should promote collective power by being inclusive and flexible.
Professor Brown’s lecture sent students back contemplating the effect leaders have on society and to a greater extent, themselves as individuals.