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

By Gilbert W. Fairholm | Go to book overview

Preface

Leadership is in flux. Our understanding of this most fundamental and pervasive of organizational relationships has undergone a series of transformations over the one hundred years of modern management. And, as with any universal idea, leadership has been defined variously by almost every writer contributing to this ferment. Analysis of this stream of ideas points up several common definitional categories around which academic and some practitioner authors have developed elaborate constructs to define and describe the leadership dynamic.

Thus, for much of this century, leadership has meant the technology of management. In this conception, leaders are those at the head of the firm who are responsible for accomplishing its work. Some reserve the idea of leadership to mean good management--the superlative qualities and actions of only the excellent organizational heads. A few writers couch leadership in personal power terms, suggesting that leaders use their personal power to get others to do what they want them to do. Leadership has also been defined in change terms, meaning the task of instituting meaningful change, managing the change process, and more recently, the job of transforming the nature and character of the organization and its workers.

In the last decades of the twentieth century leadership has come to allude to the task of setting and replacing the values guiding an organization and its people. Other current writers see leadership in terms of culture creation and maintenance. A few people are combining much of the discussion of the recent past and concluding that leadership is a

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