The Power of Leadership Essay

Leadership involves the use of non-coercive influence and the characteristic qualities of the person who is perceived to use influence successfully. Theories of leadership have numerous approaches beginning with traits and behaviors to modern contingency and transformational approaches; all which embrace leadership style, effectiveness and power. The effectiveness of leadership in public sector leader is reflected through the societies or communities for which they serve.

Urban renewal as we know can have positive or negative results. The two outcomes depend on the leadership styles of those who implement them. The focus of this paper is about land use policies in New York City and how two powerful leaders Robert Moses and Majora Carter addressed two key policy issues and how each handled them. In conclusion, I hope to provide an insight for a better understanding how these powers can implement change that forever can affect entire communities.

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Robert Moses (1888-1981) known as the “Power Broker” spearheaded an aggressive highway expansion campaign between the 1930’s to the 1970’s in New York and New York City where he worked in public works during a time progressivism was a movement of reform. Moses was an idealistic who became an observer for the governor at the time Al Smith (1873-1944). Moses had a vision of building extraordinary bridges and roadways to outlying islands that would make New York City united in lieu of the mass production that was rapidly growing.

Moses learned what political power could do in order to achieve what he wanted. He was known for his skill in drafting legislation and found this power when working with Smith. Moses finds a clause in the state law that allows a government official to appropriate the land with the owner having to apply if he wants compensation and crafts a bill for the parks commission and as chairman holds all the power. This is one of the undermined tactics Moses used (Caro, 1998, chapter 14). “The City Shaper” by Robert Caro reveals some of these trade secrets while documenting interviews with Moses.

The pair used alcohol during the prohibition era to influence the votes needed for appropriations of the roadway expansions. Moses used this in the form of black-mail which explains why he was able to get his way and other appointed officials did not interfere (Caro, 1998 p. 14). Parkways meant construction contracts and politicians had a say in which firms received the contracts and they could expect financial commemorations from a successful firm. The concepts mentioned above describe Moses’s directive authoritativeness leadership style that incorporated greed esteeming from the behavior and trait eras.

Majora Carter, “the Green Power Broker” (Holloway, 2008) is a modern day activist for environmental justice was quite aware of how Moses used his authority which destroyed her community when one of the parkways split her community in half in the past. Majora Carter had a vision of urban renewal in the ghettos of South Bronx by implementing environmental ecology. While working for the Parks Department and other community groups Carter helped secure a $10,000 grant from a USDA Forest Service program to provide seed money for river access restoration projects.

Transpiring over a five-year period she helped leverage that seed money into more than $3 million from the mayor’s budget to build the Hunts Point Riverside Park; the first open waterfront park in South Bronx in 60 years. Carter founded Sustainable South Bronx, a non-profit organization in 2001and her determination and inspiring ideas pioneered one of the nation’s first urban green-collar job training and placement systems her motto was “Green the Ghetto. Her organization spearheaded new policies and legislation that fueled demand for those jobs, improved the lives of New Yorkers, and served as a model for the nation.

Carter has earned a long list of awards and honorary degrees including the MacArthur “genius” fellowship (American Public Media, 2012). Her leadership style comes from a moral trait social entrepreneurs possess; determination and inspiration by wanting to make a ghetto full of garbage and debris into something better that would enefit citizens of the community and the environment. Carter is a positive charismatic leader whose correlation of co-efficient variation brought change through positive motivation. Her qualities of inspiration, intellectual stimulation and individual consideration make her a successful transformational leader. In conclusion, the difference between positive and negative leaders is that negative leaders are abusive by nature and manipulating, as seen in Moses unethical behavior caused by greed.

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