Leadership elitism – Idealism vs. Realism
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Philosophies of leadership have tended to express and support idealistic or realistic approaches to leadership. Leadership elitism maintains essentially that successful leaders must know and do what is best for their followers, because their followers are not capable of knowing and doing what is best for themselves. This essay offers descriptions of the contrasting traits of leadership idealism and realism, both of which explain elitism as a common trait of idealism. These descriptions are exemplified with an overview of some past and current leadership philosophies, and then with an in-depth analysis of the early twentieth-century views of the African-Americans thinkers W.E.B. Du Bois (idealist) and Booker T. Washington (realist). Some remarks on where leadership philosophy is and could be in the twenty-first century conclude the essay.
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