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Bill Drayton is the chairman and founder of Ashoka, a global citizen sector organisation that fosters social entrepreneurial activities by empowering people to provide solutions for their communities’ most pressing problems (Ashoka, 2011). Drayton has received sundry awards from prestigious institutions, for his efforts in addressing social problems (Ashoka, 2011). He has also been considered by the US News ; World Report one of the best leaders in America, the selection committee of America’s Best Leaders define a leader as “a person who motivates people to work collaboratively to accomplish great things” (US News, 2008, p.
). With the above in mind, this essay will analyse what makes Bill Drayton a leader. Based on the leadership theories, I will briefly consider some of the different approaches, especially those which better defines Drayton as a leader. Starting from a broad definition of leadership, like the one given by Nye (2008), it is arguable that Drayton is a leader because, through his organisation, he has been orienting and motivating people to achieve a common goal, which is to develop innovative solutions for boosting social change (Ashoka, 2011).
Drayton makes his collaborators act together and contribute to their social objectives (Bagchi, 2011) on this behalf he fulfils two important functions of leaders pointed out by Nye (2008) as reinforcing identity and cohesion, and mobilising collective work. There are different theoretical approaches that would clearly acknowledge Drayton’s leadership style, like the servant leadership model presented by Greenleaf (1977). Drayton’s leadership is well described by this model because he empowers people to achieve the organisation goals by meeting their own needs (Ashoka, 2011).
Hence his collaborators are convinced that the cause they are serving is for their own welfare. Like Shriberg, Shriberg, & Kumari (2005) adds when describing a servant leader, Drayton has also provided opportunities for his followers to improve their own lives (Bornstein, 2007), he builds an enabling environment in which his followers can become leaders themselves (Bagchi, 2011). Drayton is a skilful listener as well (Hsu, 2005), an important characteristic of a servant leader who listens carefully in order to grasp a situation before taking a decision (Shriberg et al, 2005).
In addition, I would refer to Drayton as a transformational leader, because his main goal as a leader is to bring about positive change by inspiring others to be part of that change (US News, 2005), this fits with the purpose of transformational leadership which as confirmed by Shriberg et al (2005) is to make a difference by engaging the followers in the change process. Drayton is changing society in an ethical way, because like Bornstein (2007) mentions his actions are well integrated with ethics, like leaders do according to Clegg, Kornberger, and Pitsis (2005).
Drayton recognizes that in addressing social change empathy is a critical factor for being ethic (Bagchi, 2011). Drayton claims that the best leaders are those who have a better impact on society in ethical and challenging ways (US News, 2005). Based on the review literature I can briefly conclude that Bill Drayton has proved to be a leader because he is inspiring others to be leaders themselves and work collaboratively to pursue a shared goal, in this connection he has bring about change and impacted society in a positive way like transformational leaders do.
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