Leadership for the Twenty-First Century

Leadership for the Twenty-First Century

Leadership for the Twenty-First Century

Leadership for the Twenty-First Century


This illuminating study critiques the concept of leadership as understood in the last 75 years and looks to the twenty-first century for a reconstructed understanding of leadership in the postindustrial era. More similarities in past decades were found than had been thought; the thread throughout Rost's book is that leadership was conceived of as "good management." He develops a new definition and paradigm for leadership in this volume that distinguishes leadership from management in fundamental ways. The ethics of leadership from a postindustrial perspective completes the paradigm. The book concludes with suggestions that can be immediately utilized in helping to transform our understanding of leadership.


This book has taken a long time to write. Not the actual writing, but what has happened in my mind and in my life, which is the heart and soul of what is in this book.

I can remember very distinctly thinking about leadership as a high school student in the 1940s. More reflection occurred in college, especially when I wrote a thesis on the events in Japan that led to World War II. When I began teaching history and social studies in high school in the Midwest, I facilitated discussions about leadership among the students. I also have done leadership. I became very involved in a thirteen-state effort to infuse the study of non-Western cultures into the secondary social studies curriculum. I also spearheaded a youth movement to liberalize Roman Catholicism through the development of lay persons as church leaders.

As part of a master's degree, I wrote a thesis on Franklin D. Roosevelt's attempt to pack the Supreme Court in 1937, which was clearly a study of leadership although I did not frame it in that conceptual context.

When I became a Catholic school principal and later a public school district superintendent, leadership was constantly on my mind. And I was always involved in reform movements to make high schools more educationally relevant and effective. During a two-year leave of absence to complete my doctoral studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I studied leadership explicitly and . . .

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