But let us look further at the essentials of leadership. Of the greatest importance is the ability to grasp a total situation. The chief mistake in thinking of leadership as resting wholly on personality lies probably in the fact that the executive leader is not a leader of men only but of something we are learning to call the total situation. This includes facts, present and potential, aims and purposes and men. Out of a welter of facts, experience, desires, aims, a leader must find the unifying thread. He must see a whole, not a kaleidoscope of pieces. He must see the relation between all the different factors in a situation. The higher up you go, the more ability you have to have of this kind, because you have a wider range of facts from which to seize the relations.
—Mary Parker Follett (Graham 1995:168)
WE LIVE in a world of organizations in the United States at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Society is governed through a complex network of international, national, state, and local political/governmental organizations. Goods and services that are part of everyday living are obtained through organizational systems that reach around the world. Growing up, to a large degree, is growing up in a world of educational organizations. For most individuals, working in or with an organization is a central feature of their adult years, organizations that may be very large and impersonal or that may be small and intimate. Organizational arrangements of many types shape retirement years. In the world of organizations, the shift from an industrial society to the postindustrial society is a shift from goods-producing organizations to service-producing organizations (Bell 1973) and, increasingly, information-producing organizations.
Persons who work in, or through, human service organizations—social workers, nurses, physicians, lawyers, teachers, psychologists, counselors, clergy—spend much of their time with organizations, either the organization that they work in, or the organizations they deal with as part of their