A Life Full of Meaning. Some Suggestions and Some Material by R. W. J. Keeble

By R. W. J. Keeble

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But too often the sorriest neglect has been reserved for the third group of functions. If a necessary part of maturing is to move from the limited, subjective, pleasure-motivated world of the child to the more universal, objective outlook of those who seek to acknowledge the reality of other people and to find some meaning in human experience, then an adequate world view is a necessary as well as a legitimate part of youth work. If the point made in Chapter 1 has been accepted, that we are terribly slow in coming to see how important it is to young people what kind of society they see around them and to what other kind of society they look forward, then it is not good enough to leave such matters to those who make a professional career out of politics, religion or international co-operation.

Regarded in this light, leadership needs more than the three theories first adumbrated to explain it. Is it not rather "an aspect of group life, an institution which develops in all types of social organisations"? In stable groups the various roles tend to become established and structured and "the leadership role is probably related to personality factors, attitudes and needs of 'followers' at a particular time, to the structure of the group, and to the situation" (in terms of the expectations of the members, the prevailing "climate" and the leader's own views of his task).

The conclusion of Ross and Hendry is firm: the "complete failure to find any consistent pattern of traits which will characterise leaders". There is no one type of leadership personality, but in youth work generally, many selection processes still look for some identifiable "personality". On the other hand, while the "great man" theory is discredited, there is considerable evidence that "Member personalities do make a difference to group performance" and that "they do affect that aspect of the group's behaviour to which the leadership concept applies".

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