Leadership for the Disillusioned: Moving beyond Myths and Heroes to Leading That Liberates

Leadership for the Disillusioned: Moving beyond Myths and Heroes to Leading That Liberates

Leadership for the Disillusioned: Moving beyond Myths and Heroes to Leading That Liberates

Leadership for the Disillusioned: Moving beyond Myths and Heroes to Leading That Liberates

Excerpt

The process of becoming a leader is very much the same as
becoming an integrated human being.

Warren Bennis (1989)

This leadership book is not about how to run a company. It is for those who are disillusioned by their encounters with leaders and leadership: with idealised heroic performances, impoverished theories and oversimplifi ed templates. My desire is to explore how leadership can be a liberating force, an idea and a way of infl uencing that frees people.

Leadership, it seems, has become ubiquitous. Everyone is being encouraged to do it. From CEOs to public servants, community activists to sales assistants, footballers to schoolchildren—all are regularly exhorted to show leadership. Despite all this attention, there is little evidence that we are getting better at it.

Why might our appetite for leadership be a bad thing? In the first part of this book, I argue that we have often been seduced by ideas and practices of leader ship. Leadership has become a panacea. People call for leadership, but what do they really mean? Often such a call is a concealed request for toughness, a particular performance of single-handed heroism. People call for leadership because they feel unable to do the diffi cult and challenging work of thinking about how to move forward together.

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