Allison (2015) introduces the reader to a host of heroes such as Thor, Beowulf, Hesiod, and more then proceeds to explain the conventional hero story in which an ordinary man (one in which the average person can identify with) is called upon for a journey that takes them far from home, to an unknown land typically met with hardships and peril along the way. This ordinary individual will be lacking characteristics necessary to complete their journey, however, along the way they will develop these traits leading them to be labeled a ‘hero.
’ The term Heroic Leadership Dynamic (HLD) is introduced explaining the followers needs for nourishment of mind and spirit which can be accomplished via stories of heroes.
These heroes along with their stories are able to promote hope, growth and inspiration for followers as well as provide wisdom obtained through the hero’s experiences. Allison (2015) went on to discuss the Johnny Carson Effect, whereupon individuals base their choice of heroe/s on their current situational needs, as followers’ lives evolve and change so too do their heroes.
Because the hero is typically considered to be an average individual much like the reader, when they overcome adversity it is meant to inspire followers demonstrating that even the most impossible is achievable. Eight traits were identified, referred to as the Great Eight and include; smart, strong, charismatic, reliable, resilient, selfless, caring, and inspiring (Allison, 2015). Participants were later asked which characteristic of the Great Eight was the most important when describing a hero; the majority reported inspiring to be of greatest importance.
Allison’s (2015) article is most likely appropriate for the college classroom or possibly an athletic organization setting. The article discusses hero-based leadership which can be used in the classroom as a form of theory much like I can see it used in the athletic setting to compare heroes achieving greatness and athletes achieving greatness on the field or court. Coaches are always encouraging athletes to do more, achieve more, break records, perform superhuman feats, therefore, I can see them using hero leadership to inspire athletes to perform above their means. Even though this may be used in the athletic setting, I believe there is only a small chance this article would be useful to me in an organization I may find myself working in.
The most useful being if I were to work for a large National Governing Body (NGB) and I had the opportunity to share stories with young athletes of seasoned athletes who were Olympians. In my opinion an aspiring leader would not find this article useful simply due to the fact most leaders don’t use heroes to inspire their followers or possibly they could, there are some amazing business leaders out there. When selecting this article, I had anticipated it discussing actual ‘hero’ leaders in society or the workplace and what it is like for them to lead, how followers react to them and was fairly disappointed. Learning about the Johnny Carson Effect, however, was quite enlightening which made me reflect upon my life a bit, Allison (2015) also discussed past real-life heroes such as Churchill, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Wesley Autrey. When individuals hear these hero stories it inspires them, uplifts them, makes them want to be a better person, and gives them a sense of community.
Beattie (2019) opens the article describing Editor-in-Chief (EIC) Dr Guy G. Simoneau and his career with the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy (JOSPT) as ‘inspirational.’ Beattie (2019) continues on praising Dr Simoneau for his inspiration to provide readers with quality research, his inspiration to mentor anyone interested; researchers, clinicians, and authors, Dr Simoneau also inspires other physical therapists to be the best at their craft and continuously work towards progress. In 1992, Dr Simoneau received his PhD from Penn State and soon after accepted a position with Marquette University, allowing Dr Simoneau a wonderful opportunity to concentrate on research.
However, instead of following his own aspirations, he chose a position with the JOSPT as their EIC where he would support and mentor others into realizing their dreams. According to Beattie (2019) when Dr Simoneau joined the JOSPT the journal was serving 40 countries and 1800 individual and organizational subscribers, by 2019 the journal was in 117 countries, served more than 23,000 online and 11,500 individual and organizational subscribers. Along with the increase in distribution and readership, the journal that was once predominantly filled with researchers from the United States, now the journal contains nearly 50% researcher articles from outside the United States. Beattie (2019) quoted a Chinese philosopher when closing on Dr Simoneau’s mentorship “A leader is best when people barely know he exists … when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will all say: we did it ourselves.” Dr Simoneau’s passion for his profession along with the inspiration that he provided for everyone he came into contact with proved to be the driving force of what made the JOSPT the success it is today.
With my background in sports medicine and heading into athletic administration personally I can find use in this article simply due to the nature of the article, I believe an aspiring leader has the ability to learn from it as well. The article discusses Dr Simoneau choosing to put his professional desires and aspirations aside in order to help others achieve their goals, a leader should want to encourage and mentor their followers to obtain their goals. Beattie (2019) was thorough in detailing Dr Simoneau’s character and the inspiration he provided others during his tenure at the JOSPT. Unfortunately, there was not a discussion regarding leadership practices aside from mentoring the individuals interested in learning from him. Given the accomplishments Dr Simoneau made as EIC it would have been interesting to learn more about his strategies over the years, what his team did, how he managed his team and how long process took to accomplish, I would have appreciated hearing about times he failed in his position or struggled and how he overcame those obstacles. Having an article discuss the effectiveness of inspiration was definitely useful, however, this article lacked in the discussion of leadership.
Bonau (2017) addresses both inspirational leadership and the other various leadership styles commonly used by leaders. Inspirational leadership in itself isn’t a style leaders should focus on but rather a component of leadership strategies used by effective leaders. Bonau (2017) provides the leader with a guide instructing them on how to become an inspirational leader, as if learning to inspire others could be taught via checklist. The author suggests being authentic with followers, however, not ‘too authentic’ as this may be misinterpreted as inauthentic or perhaps ‘faking it until you make it.’ Components such as inspirational motivation and individualized consideration engage feelings of excitement, enthusiasm and energy in the leader which is then transferred to the follower. Leaders skilled in emotional intelligence have the ability to influence their followers and use their charisma and personality to motivate followers, careful not to come off as ‘too authentic.’ However, Bonau (2017) suggested that organizations not rely too heavily on inspirational leaders.
Bonau’s (2017) article can be useful in whichever setting I find myself in, as well as for any aspiring leader. In my opinion, emotional intelligence is too often overlooked in the workplace, even with the most basic training in this area it is my belief many work environments would benefit. In that matter, I believe any audience can benefit from reading this article from high school student, college, to the workplace and not simply leaders, followers have nearly as much to gain. Bonau (2017) does a decent job of detailing inspirational leadership being a component of multiple leadership styles and not simply its own standalone theory. The majority of leadership education relating to transformational leadership, transactional leadership, servant leadership, etc. never discuss emotional intelligence. This article, however, provides a different perspective introducing the reader to a combination of not only transformational leadership which is known to be an effective leadership style and emotional intelligence meaning the leader is mentally prepared for the role. Bonau’s (2017) discussion of emotional intelligence was thorough as was the discussion on authentic behavior, I found it interesting learning about this as I sat and thought back over the countless conventions and meetings I’ve been to over the years, how many of those leaders stood off the stage dreading those events and had to give it all they had to step out on a stage pretending to be excited.
Bowerman (2018) discusses the role of leadership as a never-ending process, one without and endpoint, for those individuals who choose leadership positions they place ambition, the organizations mission, and their followers ahead of themselves. Leaders who are able to reach out and share their vision with followers are better able gain the trust of followers which is commonly known as inspirational leadership, this style of leadership is more about connecting with one another and building relationships. Developing leadership skills begins with developing the self and the individual needs to examine themselves prior to their journey; what do they believe in, stand for, care about, values, and why should they lead? When leaders are able to provide students with the proper stories at proper times, they are able to provide them with meaning enabling the students to engage, become mentally and intellectually involved which can then lead to inspiration. Throughout the article inspiration and inspirational leadership is referenced as connecting others, being self-sustaining, and happens within the follower as opposed ‘to’ the follower. Having the ability to inspire students as opposed to coercing them into behaviors provides a more favorable outcome, when leaders develop relationships as opposed to offering rewards or punishments a shared set of values between the leader and follower may result.
Bowman’s (2018) article was aimed at education leaders, however, and the content can be adapted to the collegiate setting. As a general informative read on leadership it could be applied to almost any setting or introduction to leadership, I wouldn’t recommend it for C level training. Depending upon exactly which setting I wind up in it may or may not be appropriate, being an athletic administrator there are some settings it may be appropriate, others not. Given the fact this was titled Teaching and Learning in a Storytelling Culture I felt the article lacked in discussing aspects of skills specifically related to school students, while leadership skills may be somewhat universal had Bowman (2018) discussed strategies the students were taught, mentoring programs, exercises, internships, etc. it may have added depth to the article. Bowman (2018) stated that leadership is learnable, students choose to develop these skills in a multitude of ways; how they behave in and out of school, how they treat others, it includes their demeanor, their participation, and how they choose to influence their classmates.