Creating Leaderful Organizations

How to Bring Out Leadership in Everyone

Joseph Raelin (Author)

Publication date: 02/12/2003

Creating Leaderful Organizations
The times demand a new style of leadership. Employees today are highly trained and independent-they can offer much more to an enterprise than simply their obedience. And with the relationship between worker and organization constantly changing, no one person will likely be able to lead alone. Creating Leaderful Organizations presents a paradigm of leadership tailored to our times, one that is based on mutual-rather than heroic-leadership.

It is not merely consultative, with leaders graciously allowing followers to participate in leadership, nor is it a stewardship approach in which the leader occasionally steps aside to allow others to take over temporarily. It is a revolutionary new approach that transforms leadership from an individual property to a collective responsibility. Raelin details how "leaderful" practice can accomplish the critical processes of leadership more effectively than any existing approach. And using actual examples from leading-edge organizations, he offers practical guidance for assessing your own and others' leaderful predisposition, preparing for leaderful practice, distributing leadership roles, and dealing with resistance to change.
  • Outlines a revolutionary new approach to leadership that is better able to respond to organizational turbulence, meet customer expectations, maintain employee commitment, and unleash creativity
  • Shows why leadership must be concurrent-with two or more people leading simultaneously-if organizations are to flourish
  • Includes examples of this new approach in action from some of today's most progressive organizations -- the Peace Corps, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Virgin, Harley-Davidson, and The New Yorker.

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Overview

The times demand a new style of leadership. Employees today are highly trained and independent-they can offer much more to an enterprise than simply their obedience. And with the relationship between worker and organization constantly changing, no one person will likely be able to lead alone. Creating Leaderful Organizations presents a paradigm of leadership tailored to our times, one that is based on mutual-rather than heroic-leadership.

It is not merely consultative, with leaders graciously allowing followers to participate in leadership, nor is it a stewardship approach in which the leader occasionally steps aside to allow others to take over temporarily. It is a revolutionary new approach that transforms leadership from an individual property to a collective responsibility. Raelin details how "leaderful" practice can accomplish the critical processes of leadership more effectively than any existing approach. And using actual examples from leading-edge organizations, he offers practical guidance for assessing your own and others' leaderful predisposition, preparing for leaderful practice, distributing leadership roles, and dealing with resistance to change.

  • Outlines a revolutionary new approach to leadership that is better able to respond to organizational turbulence, meet customer expectations, maintain employee commitment, and unleash creativity
  • Shows why leadership must be concurrent-with two or more people leading simultaneously-if organizations are to flourish
  • Includes examples of this new approach in action from some of today's most progressive organizations -- the Peace Corps, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Virgin, Harley-Davidson, and The New Yorker.

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Meet the Author


Visit Author Page - Joseph Raelin

Joseph A. Raelin is the Asa Knowles Chair at Northeastern University. He is also a management consultant with more than thirty-five years of experience working with a wide variety of organizational clients. Most recently, he has sponsored a set of unique executive development series that promote leaderful practice by using work-based learning methods. For more information, please visit http://www.leaderful.org/bookHome.html

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Table of Contents

Tables and Figures
Preface
Acknowledgments

Part 1: Presenting a New Paradigm for Leadership: Leaderful Practice
1. The Tenets of Leaderful Practice
2. The Distinctiveness of Leaderful Practice
3. The Challenge of Leaderful Practice
4. The Development of Leaderful Practice
5. The Benefits of Leaderful Practice

Part 2: Uncovering the Traditions of Leaderful Practice
6. Concurrent Leadership
7. Collective Leadership
8. Collaborative Leadership
9. Compassionate Leadership
10. Getting Started on Your Leaderful Quest
Notes
Name Index
Subject Index
About the Author

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Excerpt

The Tenets of Leaderful Practice

What Is “Leaderful Practice”?

I would like to introduce you to an alternative paradigm of leadership: “leaderful practice.” It directly challenges the conventional view of leadership as “being out in front.” In the twenty-first-century organization, we need to establish communities where everyone shares the experience of serving as a leader, not serially, but concurrently and collectively.

Leaderful practice is unique compared to empowerment models that have become popular in recent years in that it does not merely present a consultative model wherein leaders in authority allow “followers” to participate in their leadership. Nor does it equate to stewardship approaches that see the leader step aside to allow others to take over when necessary. Instead, it offers a true mutual model that transforms leadership from an individual property into a new paradigm that redefines leadership as a collective practice.

It may seem somewhat ambitious to suggest that a book can produce an entirely new paradigm, but the recharacterization of leadership that I suggest is hardly a revolution. The subject in question is already in motion and, thus, has but to be brought into popular consciousness. In fact, although I had assumed that I had invented a new word—leaderful—I subsequently discovered that such authors as Robert Kenny, Jessica Lipnack, Charlotte Roberts, and Margaret Wheatley, as well as many other leadership consultants, had already made many references to it. So, I am now convinced that when all of us in the working world fully reflect upon the metaphor of “being leaderful,” we will collaborate in this endeavor of transforming leadership practice as we know it. The chaotic world of corporate affairs especially requires leadership that diverges from age-old conceptions of leading by control. The only possible way to lead our way out of trouble in management is to become mutual and to share our leadership.

What Is Leadership?

Before we get ahead of ourselves, I need to first provide a depiction of what leadership itself represents. Once we have a sense of what it is, we will have a base of operations to determine whether leaderful practice can accomplish leadership as effectively, or more effectively (as I contend), than conventional leadership practice. In other words, as we encounter the new ideas and behaviors of leaderful practice, however novel or inventive they may appear, we need to assess whether they nevertheless continue to accomplish the enterprise of leadership. A good place to start is to review four critical processes that are mobilized by leadership. The model depicted in figure 1-11 is iterative, so I could start my explanation anywhere, but for the sake of clarity, let's begin with setting the mission.

1. Leadership is concerned with setting the mission or direction of an enterprise. At some point, whether in the beginning of an activity or as it evolves, the community needs to know where it is going.

2. Accompanying the mission is the need to actualize the goals of the enterprise. A host of activities and tasks need to be accomplished to get the work done.

3. There is also a need to sustain the commitment and cohesiveness of the working unit. Community members want to feel that they are part of something.

image

FIGURE 1-1. Four Critical Processes of Leadership

4. While members need to feel cohesive, they also need to be adaptable to respond to changes that may require a shift in direction. As members entertain alternatives, the mission may become redefined; hence, the process begins anew.

The first critical process, setting the mission, defines the outcome to which the community becomes dedicated. A mission becomes a stabilizing factor in the face of pressure from forces, both inside and outside the system, to change it. Though subject to change from the adaptive process, the result of which may cause occasional shifts in the mission, the mission gives any system a consistent boundary for a period of time.

The interest among major firms to define strategic direction gives testimony to this essential process. Wal-Mart, for example, makes its mission very simple: “To give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same thing as rich people.” Other companies are more specific. Federal Express states: “FedEx is committed to our People-Service-Profit Philosophy. We will produce outstanding financial returns by providing totally reliable, competitively superior, global, air-ground transportation of high-priority goods and documents that require rapid, time-certain delivery.” In either instance, members of these corporate communities obtain a good sense of where their company wishes to go.

The second critical process, actualizing goals, is concerned with how a community organizes itself to extend social and political energy and shape its economic performance. Members of a community engage with one another to work on behalf of their mission. Failing to engage in the requisite tasks to accomplish a mission typically results in mission failure itself, no matter how noble the mission.

Let's look at one of the most important institutions in our society: primary and secondary education. The United States severely lags behind the industrialized world in standard indices of educational accomplishment, not to mention the pervasive criticism and consternation from American citizens that our schools have not done their job properly. In this case, the mission is not in question, though some may disagree about what the education of children should comprise (should it be, for example, the command of academic subjects or a comprehensive sense of the meaning and practice of citizenship?). By most accounts, the criticism against our educational system rests on how we structure our school institutions to deliver the best product that we can. We also seem stifled regarding what we should actually teach students and how we should assess their learning; when, where, and how long to teach them; how to prepare, supervise, and evaluate our teachers; how much to spend on educational resources and how to obtain these very resources; and how to manage the entire educational enterprise.

The third critical process, sustaining commitment and cohesiveness, addresses the need of system units and constituents to come together in a mutual adjustment process to support the system as a whole. The need to coordinate its parts faces any community as it grows. This can be partially accomplished by structuring processes. But leadership is also required to see that people remain engaged and supportive of one another, that they have complementary expectations, and that conflicts are brought out into the open and managed for the good of the whole.

Consider how a team within a Fortune 50 yarn-making plant responded leaderfully to a customer complaint.2 Apparently, the customer had received a yarn shipment of incorrect size. The researchers first noticed the team literally “huddling” in response to this unexpected turn of events. Then, various team members launched into action. Through a series of phone calls, some members first acquired needed extra raw material from another part of the plant. Team members scheduled several periods of overtime to redo the order. Meanwhile, the customer was informed that the correct size yarn would ship in a matter of days.

The fourth process, responding to changes, is a boundary function that links a system with its environment. Any system not only has to organize itself internally but must also be prepared to change in response to new environmental conditions. Hence, communities cannot become overly cohesive or overly committed to any course of action that would preclude a shift in direction when necessary. Although not always active, a repertoire of available resources and actions should be available to facilitate a need to change course.

Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), the preeminent startup in the minicomputer era, was perhaps one of the most admired U.S. companies in the 1970s and early '80s. No less admired was its iconoclastic founder and CEO, Ken Olsen. However, DEC and its leadership missed the exploding demand for desktop computers that started in the mid-eighties, an oversight from which it never fully recovered. Though it found another niche, Internet-based computer systems installation and service, Compaq Computer Corp. eventually bought DEC in 1998.

In order for organizations to remain adaptable, leadership must occur in many areas, not just from the top. Indeed, many of our most adaptable responses arise from regular employees or from those in the organization who listen to their customers. Microsoft's Internet applications are due as much to students and to new hires, among whom were inveterate Web surfers, as to Bill Gates. Starbucks's Frappaccino came from a store manager in Los Angeles, and most franchise operators, like McDonalds, will tell you that the best ideas come from the franchisees in the field rather than from headquarters.

What Is Conventional Leadership?

Having identified what leadership represents, we next consider the dominant approach to effecting leadership. As the reigning paradigm, conventional leadership has qualities that are considered commensurate with leadership itself. As we shall see, there is an emerging recognition that this dominant approach may be listing as we prepare to manage twenty-first-century organizations. There are four tenets of conventional leadership.

1. Leadership is serial. Once one achieves the office of leadership, that position continues at least for the duration of the term of office. Only when one completes his or her term—or vacates or is forced to leave the office—does leadership transfer to the next leader, though it may return at times to the original person. Leaders are thus always in a position of leadership and do not cede the honor to anyone else. Upon acquiring power, most leaders attempt to sustain or increase it. Giving up or sharing power with others would be seen as abdicating one's responsibility.

2. Leadership is individual. That a leader is one person signifies leadership's solitary role. An enterprise has only one leader and normally such a person is designated as the authority or position leader. It would weaken or at least confuse leadership to talk about having more than a single leader or to share leadership because there would not be a concrete endrole for making decisions and directing actions.

3. Leadership is controlling. The conventional leader believes it is his or her ultimate duty to direct the enterprise and engender the commitment of community members. To ensure smooth coordination of functions, the leader acts as the spokesperson for the enterprise. The subordinate role is to follow the guidance of the leader and to help him or her successfully accomplish the enterprise's mission. Leaders may choose to share their deepest beliefs but only with their closest associates.

4. Leadership is dispassionate. Although the leader may recognize that employees have feelings, the leader must make the tough decisions for the enterprise in a dispassionate manner. Tough decisions may result in not satisfying (or may even hurt) particular stakeholders, including employees, but accomplishing the mission of the enterprise must come first. Leaders are also the authoritative source when the operation faces problems, and they tend to exude a confidence that they are in charge and that subordinates can rely upon them to handle any challenge.

What Does It Mean to Be “Leaderful”?

In the opening vignette, Jamie Waters cautioned against calling groups leaderless. In leaderless groups, there is no longer a need for a leader, or even a facilitator, because the group has learned to conduct its affairs on its own. It no longer has, or needs, leadership. The problem with this idea is that it suggests a group may at times be devoid of leadership. It can go on for a while, albeit tenuously, until there's a crisis. At that point, a leader may need to emerge to settle things down. Consider, though, that some groups don't lose their leadership when they work in sync like a well-oiled machine. Leadership at this point becomes distributed across all members of the community. It is not leaderless; it is leaderful! As Jamie noted, it is full of leadership since everyone shares the experience of providing leadership.

Leading in Your Community I would like to make a new reference to the unit that receives or conducts leadership. Let's refer to it as a community. A community is any setting where people congregate to accomplish work together. Hence, it can be a small group, an office, a plant, or a large organization. It can be in the private, public, or civil (nonprofit) sectors. I prefer to use the word community, rather than group or organization, because it is more hospitable to a notion of leadership that applies to the whole rather than to the parts or their sum. It also allows me to refer to leadership within any interpersonal context, rather than having to distinguish whether it refers to team or managerial or strategic settings. To say that leaderful practice occurs within a community comes with one qualifier: I am drawing attention to leadership's interpersonal character. The community is a unit in which members already have or may establish human contact with others. In this sense, it is a social structure that extends beyond the self, that links people together for some common purpose. Most of us can see ourselves as belonging to a number of communities. Some of them may not necessarily entail work; for example, people may assemble for recreational or spiritual purposes. In this book, I am most concerned with leadership that helps our communities work better together.

Some groups don't lose their leadership when they work in sync like a well-oiled machine. Leadership at this point becomes distributed across all members of the community. It is not leaderless; it is leaderful.

The Four C's of Leaderful Practice Leaderful leadership offers an alternative approach to conventional leadership that is ripe for the requirements of our communities in the current era. It is an integrative model that has been in the making for some time but for its coherence. In other words, it contains historical traditions that, without integration, have not been able to supplant the dominant heroic paradigm. Leaderful leadership can also accomplish the four processes of leadership in more settings and with more pervasive effectiveness than the conventional approach. Let's consider how the four tenets of conventional leadership can be replaced with what I have labeled the four C's. Leaderful managers are concurrent, collective, collaborative, and compassionate.

Figure 1-2 displays the two leadership approaches as a set of continua. I have chosen continua because most of us are not completely settled in one approach or the other. As much as I would wish for my readers to create fully leaderful organizations, it takes some practice to get there, as chapter 3 will point out. As such, some of you will find yourselves more leaderful compared to others but will also find that you vary in your leaderful tendencies across the tenets. For example, you may be a compassionate leader but believe firmly that leadership of the enterprise should gravitate to you as the ultimate single decision maker. Further, you may find that you embrace leaderful practice only under particular circumstances, such as when your colleagues are ready to share leadership with you. Otherwise, perhaps you tend to take control of the community.

As I expect that few readers will consider themselves entirely leaderful at this point, in this book I will attempt to both make the case on behalf of leaderful practice and illustrate some practical methods to help you become more so. It is not that I believe conventional leadership is invalid; it has served us well. I simply see the leaderful leadership approach as more practical and useful in managing communities in our new century.

The first tenet of leaderful practice, that leadership is concurrent, is perhaps the most revolutionary. It suggests that in any community, more than one leader can operate at the same time, so leaders willingly and naturally share power with others. Indeed, power can be increased by everyone working together. Since leaders perform a variety of responsibilities in a community, it is pointless to insist that only one leader operates at any one time. For example, an administrative assistant who “knows the ropes” and can help others figure out who is knowledgeable about a particular function may be just as important to the group as the position leader. However, this same position leader need not “stand down” nor give up his or her leadership as members of the community turn their attention to the administrative assistant. These two, as well as many others, can offer their leadership to the community at the same time.

image

FIGURE 1-2. The Continua of Leadership

Leaderful leadership is not only concurrent, but is also collective. Since we have dispelled the assumption that a group can have only one leader, we can entertain the view that many people within the community might operate as leaders. The community does not solely depend on one individual to mobilize action or make decisions on behalf of others. I include in this assertion the role of the position leader. This “authority” may have formal power conferred on him or her by the organization, but formal authority is not necessarily the most valuable to the operation. Decisions are made by whoever has the relevant responsibility. Leadership may thus emerge from multiple members of the community, especially when important needs arise, whether preparing for a strategic mission, creating meaning for the group, or proposing a change in direction. Although someone may initiate an activity, others may become involved and share leadership with the initiator. Have you ever experienced being in a team that was temporarily stymied in its attempt to solve a problem? Feeling disconsolate, members wonder if they will ever find a solution. Then, all of sudden, someone offers an idea, perhaps not a mainstream idea but one that has an immediate appeal, one that engages the community's imagination. Soon, everyone begins throwing out additional thoughts and tactics to build on the original idea. For a time, an almost breathless quality descends on the team's functioning as it becomes absorbed in this all-encompassing solution process. The team is experiencing collective leadership; it is not dependent on any one member, not the position leader, not the idea initiator—everyone is participating in leadership.

Leaderful leadership is also collaborative. All members of the community, not just the position leader, are in control of and may speak for the entire community. They may advocate a point of view that they believe can contribute to the common good of the community. Although they might assert themselves at times, they remain equally sensitive to the views and feelings of others and consider their viewpoints as equally valid. They thus seek to engage in a public dialogue in which they willingly open their beliefs and values to the scrutiny of others. Their listening to others becomes rapt. They also understand the difference between collaborating as a pretense and becoming fully involved. In pretentious involvement, you quickly discover that all the critical decisions seem to get made without you. Collaborative leaders realize that everyone counts; every opinion and contribution sincerely matter.

Finally, leaderful managers are compassionate. By demonstrating compassion, one extends unadulterated commitment to preserving the dignity of others. Shareholders' views are considered before making a decision for the entire enterprise. Each member of the community is valued regardless of his or her background or social standing, and all viewpoints are considered regardless of whether they conform to current thought processes. In practicing compassion, leaders take the stance of a learner who sees the adaptability of the community as dependent upon the contribution of others. Members of the community, not necessarily the position leader, handle problems as they arise. Compassionate leaders recognize that values are intrinsically interconnected with leadership and that there is no higher value than democratic participation. When people who have a stake in a community venture are given every chance to participate in that venture—including its implementation—their commitment to the venture will be assured. The endowment of participation extends to the wider community affected by the actions of an organization. For example, if building a new corporate complex will affect the existing ecology or serenity of a neighboring property, the compassionate leader will include the neighbors in deliberations concerning the construction.

Why Do We Need to Be Leaderful?

Leaderful practice has become an exigency for both managers and employees. Managers already are having to cope with new forms of organization. Information, reorganized now for decision making in the form of distributed knowledge, is gradually breaking down our bureaucracies. More people have access to information that was once the exclusive domain of top management. As every organizational member receives the necessary tools to run his or her immediate work function, he or she also sees how that function connects to the rest of the organization. When workers become more connected to one another, the entire enterprise becomes much more interdependent than in the past. Salespeople communicate customer preferences to systems designers. Nurses and dietitians become part of the same team. Expertise has become as much a function of the cross-functional unit operating together as intelligence professed by one single individual.

Each worker also likely possesses knowledge that may exceed that of his or her superiors. Take as an example the emergence of our military forces, which are becoming digitally networked, supported by unmanned spy planes and robotic sensors. In order to achieve its objectives of speed and agility this new technology pushes information down the line to the lowest-ranking troops. The strategy, though, will only succeed if officers in the field can act on the available information without waiting for orders from command headquarters.3

In addition to becoming more interconnected, in order to unlock the knowledge of our workforce, organizations are becoming far more fluid, experimenting with virtual and network structures that have begun to even challenge our conventional notion of “internal” and “external.” In such organizations, clear boundaries that distinguish the employees inside from customers, suppliers, and even competitors outside no longer exist. At Home Depot, for example, you might find a clerk who looks like a Home Depot clerk but who actually works for Georgia-Pacific. Why? By collecting detailed point-of-sale information, Georgia-Pacific expects to help Home Depot lower prices and reduce out-of-stock shelves while lowering inventory.4

Customers, meanwhile, whether businesses or individual consumers, now have greater leverage in our consumer markets owing to the access they can have to corporate units through information technology. As a result, they expect to work with corporate representatives who can streamline decisions and actions. They don't wish to be kept waiting for clearance from some corporate executive with whom they've had no contact. To operate in this way, boundary persons in such roles as service technicians, customer representatives, or purchasing agents need to operate with immediate authority to act in the company's interest.

Leadership, then, becomes operative as a collective property, not the sole sanctuary of any one (most important) member. Our corporate, public, and civic communities and teams still require leadership, however. Recalling the four critical processes, they still need to establish a mission for themselves, work collectively toward that mission, sustain their commitment, and face future challenges as they arise. It's just that the leadership of the unit needs to come from within the community, not from an ultimate authority imposed from the outside.

Meanwhile, how might employees participate in leadership? There is a good chance that if you're reading this book, you are part of the formally educated, knowledge workforce. You are, consequently, more capable, more independent, and more intrinsically motivated than workers of an earlier era. By this, I mean that you tend to respond well to open communication, fair treatment, and challenging work. But, most of all, you know your stuff. Consider the telecommunications industry as a compelling example. Executives of some of the major companies in the industry can remember a time when hardware meant telephones, lines, and switches. Hardware today means fiber optics, wireless devices, and internet infrastructure. Have these executives stayed so current that they can still solely determine strategy without the collective participation—not just input—of their technical staffs?

In the new century, we can no longer afford to have a mechanistic view of the world. We live in an age that is specialized but subjective, complex but relational. In such a world, we cannot rely on a coterie of subordinates to await their marching orders from detached bosses at the top who have sole possession on problem fixes, even across the remote corners of the organization. We need organizations that empower anyone with the capability and the willingness to assume leadership in the moment in his or her relationships with peers, team members, customers, suppliers, and other organizational partners. Alas, we are in it together. The essence of leadership is collaboration and mutuality.5

Abraham Lincoln liked to tell the following story (uncovered by Donald Phillips) to discourage managers from assuming almighty command.

It seems that there was this colonel, who when raising his regiment in Missouri, proposed to his men that he should do all the swearing for the regiment. They assented; and for months no instance was known of any violation of the promise, that is, until a teamster named John Todd happened to be driving a mule team through a series of mudholes a little worse than usual. He thereupon burst forth into a volley of profanity.

The colonel took notice of the offense and brought John to account. “John,” said he, “didn't you promise to let me do all the swearing for the regiment?” “Yes, I did, Colonel,” he replied, “but the fact was, the swearing had to be done then or not at all, and you weren't there to do it.”6

If your boss insists on telling you who will do the swearing, as an employee, you'll probably leave. I say “leave,” however, not only in the physical sense but also figuratively. If you continue to work under a controlling boss, you may bring only your subservient self to work. In this sense you may take little responsibility for anything outside of your own immediate job sphere. You may become inclined to focus on narrow tasks and duties and loath to extend any efforts to solve problems that are broader in scope. Especially during the early season of your employment, you might find yourself frustrated that the company is not using your full self. Over the course of time, you may become content to extend just that part of yourself that accomplishes the assigned task. The organizational culture becomes one of compliance, not commitment.7 Later, if given the chance to participate in decisions or to bring your whole self to work, you will likely respond with mistrust, even resentment.8 You may protest, “Now, what do they want from me?”

We need organizations that empower anyone with the capability and the willingness to assume leadership in the moment.... Alas, we are in it together. The essence of leadership is collaboration and mutuality.

I recall a story that has been attributed to Peter Drucker in which he presumably asked a group of senior executives to identify the “dead wood” in their company. Many of these executives were quick to nominate many of their direct reports as falling into this categorization, to which Drucker responded: “Were these people dead when you hired them or did they become dead wood?”

Placing exclusive power in an authority figure to determine the course of events in an organization without sharing leadership with others requires a dependence that relegates all employees to a subsidiary “yes boss” role. The net effect on adaptability and learning can be disastrous, as everyone but the boss has a cop-out in the event something goes wrong. Listen to how Trot Nixon, a baseball player from the Boston Red Sox, once feigned his displeasure at not being consulted. At one point during the 2001 pre-season, most Red Sox observers thought he would play left field once the right field position was granted to his teammate, one Manny Ramirez. A Boston Globe reporter asked Nixon why he hadn't been given the chance to play left field during spring training by then-manager, Jimy Williams. Nixon replied: “I have no clue. I'm not paid to think. Jimy always finds a way to get players some at-bats. I haven't thought that much about it. Earlier in the spring, I thought maybe I'd have the opportunity to play all over the place, but it's Jimy's team, he makes out the lineup” [March 23, 2001].

What Makes the Leaderful Experience New?

There is a view in our culture that we need heroes to guide us out of trouble. This is the main reason why leaderful practice may seem novel to many; it rarely calls for heroic intervention. There are also those who think they are leaderful, but, in fact, they are merely benevolent or they only get as far as espousing leaderful beliefs but inconsistently practice them.

Let's start with our hero fascination. In fairness, the heroic model does have historic roots. The Anglo-Saxon lédan means “going forth” or “standing out in front.” The nineteenth-century historian Thomas Carlyle insisted that the one certainty that defines history is what “Great Men” have accomplished. Perhaps this is why the pull toward the heroic model of leadership in our culture persists even as we talk about the need to include other members of our communities under the leadership umbrella. Though we may advocate the value of participative leadership and other forms of organizational democratic practice, the drive to raise up a spiritual leader whom we can love and who can save us sneaks back into our consciousness just as we prepare to assert our own worth and independence. Part of the reason for this is that our culture still seems to value, even revere, individualism while preaching teamwork. Whatever the walk of life, be it a corporate setting, a professional sports team, or an opera, we tend to focus on the star performer even when he or she depends entirely upon the team to achieve prominence. Just listen to any adv

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