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By R. W. J. Keeble

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Extra resources for A Life Full of Meaning. Some Suggestions and Some Material for the Future Training of Youth Leaders

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Such skills are, of course, necessary: nevertheless relatively little has generally been done to help the worker penetrate the attitudes, resistances and assumptions of the members, or to analyse his own thinking and feeling; self-training has been almost unknown; little thought and less practice has usually been given to the ability of the leader to work fruitfully with adult and member committees. Indeed the skills of working with groups of any kind have been at best ignored and at worst scorned; in the matter of face-to-face situations of 30 LEADERSHIP UNDER SCRUTINY 31 tension, conflict, divergence, leaders have been left to rules of thumb, their own ability to "play it off the cuff" and sheer luck.

A charming woman who is prized as a morale-booster on social occasions but who knows no first-aid may be tolerated in an accident only if she can telephone for an ambulance; a gifted bazaar-opener or political propagandist may fail her family if she can only boil an egg. The more attention is given to the interactions between individuals in groups, the more it becomes evident that leadership is in part a structure or a function and not only a person. As techniques are devised to study acts of leadership, definitions begin to concentrate on acts which help the group to achieve a desired objective.

What then is the importance of personality traits? Clearly they cannot be ruled out. For example, intelligence lower than the average of the group needs some other powerful and valued attribute if its owner is to be acknowledged as a leader. A man unable technically to measure up to a task he is expected to perform will suffer 38 A LIFE FULL OF MEANING in other ways, in for example, a loss of self-confidence which makes him in turn even less able to perform the task. Are there any personality resemblances among those who "give a lead" in different kinds of groups in different kinds of situations?

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