By Megan Reitz (auth.)
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Extra resources for Dialogue in Organizations: Developing Relational Leadership
It seems that increasingly ‘leaders’ are expected to be ‘good’ at dialogue and this expectation is not limited to the popular press. A growing interest in the ‘leaders’ dialogue skills matches the ‘relational turn’ in the leadership literature detailed previously in this chapter. 5 Mapping the literature field of popular management authors writing generally about both dialogue and leadership are Groysberg and Slind (2012), Isaacs (1999, 2000) and Scharmer (2000). Examples of more academically focused work in this area include Fletcher and Kaufer (2003), Hammond et al.
It is important to clarify and reiterate that this is not simply an annoying omission; it is a reflection of Buber’s commitment to the ineffability of dialogue; to the problematic of describing the essence or quality of connection with another; and to his belief that dialogue cannot be ‘willed’ but emerges through ‘grace’. Having said this Buber does offer some key ideas and concepts which serve to give depth to our understanding of I–Thou relation. Firstly Buber emphasized that it is in the ‘meeting’ of Thou that one is able to become ‘I’.
This is described next. I–Thou dialogue and leadership Ashman and Lawler’s (2008) Leadership article most directly addresses how Buber’s work might apply to the leader–follower context (they do not specifically refer to RLT). They pose the question ‘whether it is possible for [I–Thou] dialogue to occur between leader and follower’ (263). Given its apparent centrality to the subject matter of this book it is worth pausing to consider this article in more detail. Although the majority of the paper relates to Buber’s ideas and their application to leadership, this is not its stated main purpose.