Monday, March 21, 2011

Iceland's Geir H. Haarde

  Being green conscience is not only a duty of CEO's and employees, it is a duty of the government.  One of most active green government officials is Geir H. Haarde, the Prime Minister of Iceland.  Haarde was dubbed one of the top five world's most inspiring green leaders in 2008.  Using clean natural resources such as geothermal energy from volcanoes and the energy created from the waterfalls made by Iceland's glaciers, Haarde has been able to not only create the #1 green country in the world, but open up new industries to create jobs while steering away from harmful fossil fuels such as coal.
  According to an article about the methods Haarde incorporates to stay green, the country of Iceland imports no coal whatsoever, they have no need for it.  Haarde and the Iceland government have also offered up incentives to car manufacturers like Daimler, to use non-traditional energy sources in their vehicles.  Although Iceland is clearly in the forefront in the use of clean natural resources in energy, it's size and scope of influence are hardly enough to make a worldwide difference in using these resources.  Haarde needs to continue to be a leader that can be seen as being proactive in the green cause, someone who will enlighten others to take a stand against using harmful fossil fuels.
  In relation to the material that we have discussed in class, I wanted to incorporate how Haarde would fit in to the role of an authentic leader.  After viewing the three definitions that can describe an authentic leader, i believe that Haarde is an example of the developmental definition.  The Prime Minister is a self-aware, moral, and relationally developed person who is obviously looking at what this project can do to benefit the entire world and not just Iceland.  His sense of leadership has been highly developed over time, which can be seen by his status within the country of Iceland.  Using the power available to him, he is bettering all of his people by creating new jobs, revenue, technology, and providing a cleaner environment.
  Being an authentic leader, one could argue that Haarde is using the Robert Terry Authentic leadership approach.  The premise of this approach is that the leader, Haarde, is striving to do the right thing.  The framework to accomplish this action, can be seen as the incentives to car manufacturers, creating jobs in the geothermal energy and aquatic energy industries, and exporting expertise to developing countries.  By answering the question of what is wrong with our globe today, the use of harmful fossil fuels, Haarde has moved in to answer the second question of Terry's approach, "What are we going to do about it?" His answer to this as stated above was to utilize Iceland's geography and geology to better the country and eventually the world.
  I believe that this view on leadership is a valid example of an authentic leader.  However, there are other practical approaches to be used as examples and of course, Haarde is a perfect example of other types of leadership styles.  Does anyone have any ideas on what other kinds of leaders Haarde may represent.  Do you think my examples of him being an authentic leader are valid.  I would like to hear your feedback on this.

Jonathon Byrd


  1. I really like this topic you chose because it can also go hand-in-hand with my teams blog The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Sustainability can often fall down the ranks of importance especially when it comes to time sensitive issues. Automobile companies are currently racing to fulfill the demand for cars in growing nations such as China and India. Sadly, it appears the same old mistake of flooding the market with cars that run on fossilized fuels is going to go on longer until a practical, affordable alternative gains trend. We need more leaders like Haarde showing the right examples for present and future generations to follow. The Principle of Ethical Leadership that Haarde demonstrates the most is builds community. His concern for others and the way he searches for answers that are compatible with sustainability leads me to agree with Jonathon that Haarde is best described as an authentic leader.

    Nathan Beauchamp

  2. I agree with how you applied Robert Terry's approach to Haarde, however I find myself preferring to use Bill George's approach instead when it comes to the environment. I feel that with environmental issues almost anything you do is the "right thing." People instantly applaud any efforts helping the environment and I feel like that weakens the application of Terry's approach. With George's approach you're able to take a look at the bigger picture instead of just the "right" actions. One always has to wonder what factors played into the actions when it comes to higher ranking politicians. There are so many factors that go into just one of the President's decision that it makes you wonder if the action is truly "right" or just being influenced by other factors (lobbyists, political party agenda, public opinion, etc.). Again I feel that you applied Terry's approach in a great way but I think that our society's view on the environment and the nature of politics ends up weakening this approach and that George's approach may be more useful.

    Daniel Salsinger