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Ethics: The Heart of Leadership

By Joanne B. Ciulla | Go to book overview

Introduction

Some people become leaders because they have or develop certain talents and dispositions, or because of their wealth, military might, or position. Others lead because they possess great minds and ideas or they tell compelling stories. And then there are people who stumble into leadership because of the times or circumstances in which they find themselves. No matter how people get to be leaders, no one is a leader without willing followers. Managers and generals can act like playground bullies and use their power and rank force to force their will on people, but this is coercion, not leadership. Leadership is not a person or a position. It is a complex moral relationship between people, based on trust, obligation, commitment, emotion, and a shared vision of the good. Ethics, then, lies at the very heart of leadership. The essays in this volume explore the ethical intricacies of leadership.

I dedicate this book to James MacGregor Burns, because his theory of transforming leadership rests on the on-going moral relationship of leaders and followers. In his book, Leadership, Burns describes transforming leadership as a relationship in which leaders and followers morally elevate each other. Leadership for Burns is about change and sharing common purpose and values. The transforming leader helps

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