Sharing Thoughts on Leadership and Friendship

Book Chapter

Title: Sharing Thoughts on Leadership and Friendship
Year: 2008
Authors Dr Robert French

Modern ways of thinking place friendship firmly in the private sphere and view a leader’s friendship networks with suspicion – even setting up legal frameworks to discourage such alliances or interest groups. From the perspective of the classical friendship tradition, however, the friendship-leadership pairing would not be viewed with suspicion. Rather the opposite: the leader to mistrust and to fear, as unpredictable and unreliable, would be the one who did not have, and work with and through, friends. At such times, leaders without a supportive friendship network might have been viewed with just the suspicion that we project onto leaders who appear to rely on – and to do favours for? – their ‘cronies’ (17th century slang for ‘old friends’).

The chapter looks at what we might learn from the classical friendship tradition in terms of three questions:
(i) What is friendship? – the key theoretical concept here is of friendship as a hexis, that is, a state of mind or disposition, rather than a feeling state or even primarily a relationship;
(ii) What motivates friendship? – here Aristotle’s model of ‘levels’ of friendship suggests ways in which the basic concept of friendship as a state of mind comes to be enacted;
(iii) How to do friendship? – finally, some of the specific practices or actions of friendship will be discussed.

Keywords: friendship, leadership, hexis a state of mind, classical view, pairing
Language: English

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Publisher Location: Basingstoke
Title of Book: Leadership Perspectives: Knowledge into Action
Start page: 41
End page: 55

Submitted by:
Dr Robert French
Corresponding author: Dr Robert French

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