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"Son, as soon as someone puts their hands on you..."

I saw the article "Memoirs of a Bullied Kid" on the site Single Dad Laughing. It's written by a guy named Dan Pearce, and he seems like a hell of a guy. He's talking about raising his son, about accepting yourself, dealing with conflict, things like that. Pretty inspirational and good stuff.

The Memoirs of a Bullied Kid article must've taken a lot of guts to write, and I massively respect that. That said, I disagree with his conclusion on how to deal with violent bullies. So I want to send some praise and respect in his direction, but also some significant disagreement.

I originally wrote this as a comment for Hacker News, but it came out to about a normal post's length. Tone is more discussion site level than blog post level, but you'll get the gist of it -

"Son, as soon as someone puts their hands on you..."

This comment will be controversial, especially for North Americans and Western Europeans. I ask you to read it and think about it a moment before reacting, and comment if you disagree. I believe what I'm about to say is true, and I'm not trying to get a rise out of people - I want to fix some problems with society.

Believing in Leadership

On MGT500

There are many texts available that advise people on the best business, management, or organizational practices. They expound on several strategies and experiences that have been tried and true in the realm of leadership. You know them, they're written by Kotter, Collins, Maxwell, etc. What if instead of strategizing you believed in or questioned your leadership skills in order to find success? What if you took the philosophical approach to leadership? Maybe you should. Experts are currently arguing a degree in philosophy will show bigger a payoff in organizations than the traditional MBA. According to recent studies, "by mid-career, the salaries of philosophy graduates surpasses those of marketing, communications, accounting and business management." (Poulsen, 2013)

Academics are currently arguing that business school does not give students the tools to take on a job. The average business school being dubiously described as “taking two years out of your life and going deeply into debt, all for the sake of learning how to keep a straight face while using phrases like “out-of-the-box thinking,” “win-win situation,” and “core competencies.” (Poulsen, 2013) In the evolving landscape of the workplace the constant questioning and critical thinking required of philosophy majors give them the leadership advantage of easily dealing with new situations and solving problems.

Philosophizing can also greatly affect the ethics of your organization. There are many philosophical problems that can be applied to leadership issues. A common query posed on leaders today called the trolley problem asks people to make a decision regarding an out of control trolley. There are five people who are sure to die if the trolley continues to careen. You can flip a switch and kill a pedestrian. Or throw a person on the rails killing them. Both solutions cause the death.of an innocent bystander to save the lives of five passengers, but which one do leaders find more morally and ethically sound? Many choose the switch as it not the physical act of harming people, just the unfortunate result of a indirect action. Which one is correct is up to the philosophizer. (Johnson, 2012, pg.393)

The trolley problem obviously arises on high level decision making such as ethical euthanasia in hospitals and drone strikes in the military - these are leadership calls many of us will never have to experience making. But a similar philosophical dilemma occurs within decision making in corporations. Are there sacrifices of the few that would benefit the many? How does this apply and what do you believe is right in your organization? For your customers? Your mission statement? Corporate culture? Hiring decisions? Your Corporate Social Responsibility? Are these decisions justified?

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