Capturing the Heart of Leadership: Spirituality and Community in the New American Workplace

By Gilbert W. Fairholm | Go to book overview

Chapter 9
The Search for a New Leadership

It is hard today to generate even a reasonably long list of recognized American (or world) leaders. There is a leadership famine in our social, business, and civic communities. One cause may stem from the fact that many would-be leaders opt to focus their leadership on special groups, not the larger community encompassing all groups. And, the leadership gap has been deepened because too few leaders have been willing to give up tight control of their group members to become orchestrators of their independent actions. The root cause of both situations may be that, unlike their more numerous predecessors, today's business and civic leaders do not offer a high moral standard around which potential followers can cluster.

We need to look at ourselves more deeply and honestly and create a greater capacity for ethical, moral, and meaningful leadership and followership. For surely the moral standards of our civic and corporate institutional leaders affect us. The familiar biblical proverb has as much application now as it always has: "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice and when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn" ( Proverbs 29:2).

As Hickman ( 1989) suggests, business people have begun to question the deeper values, methods, and motives of their leaders as well as their own actions and values in the various organizations and communities to which they belong. To combat the tendency to fragmentation of our leadership relations and our standards of social conduct, we must take

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