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Even Kramer’s excellent explanation of the book is at times circuitous and unstructured in part because it follows the flow of the original I and Thou book. Buber’s argument against this criticism was to once again explain that there are no quick steps to dialogue; I–Thou relating cannot be willed. He likened his role not to a teacher who tells others how to experience dialogue, but rather to a guide who is able to take the reader by the hand and point out of the window: I have no teaching. I only point to something.

It also reveals that in 2012 the UN Ethics Office published a ‘leader’s guide for 2012–2013’ and in it explained that ‘this Leader’s Guide provides you with everything you need to lead a dialogue with your staff about our responsibilities as international civil servants’. It seems that increasingly ‘leaders’ are expected to be ‘good’ at dialogue and this expectation is not limited to the popular press. A growing interest in the ‘leaders’ dialogue skills matches the ‘relational turn’ in the leadership literature detailed previously in this chapter.

I am left wondering, if relational leadership is most concerned with the dynamic process of leadership, what might it be like, in a holistic sense, to be in relation within a context which is not limited to specific leadership roles? How might the quality of the leader– follower relation be described in all its messiness in order to suggest implications on matters such as decision-making and creativity that are essential in facing the challenges of the twenty-first century? I see Buber’s work as more concerned with the holistic nature of being in relation than Bakhtin’s, who, as I have said, was primarily interested in linguistics.

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