Understanding All Aspects of Leadership - 20 Different Perspectives on Leadership

© Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC.

Great Confusion About the Term "Leadership" Today

Discussions about leadership today have become so frequent and impassioned that they have become almost evangelical in tone. Leading is a very human activity -- everyone's human -- so everyone's got lots of advice about leading. Leadership development has almost become spiritual development, rather than professional development. In our advice, we associate any desirable trait to what leaders should be. It's difficult to publish a book about business with having the term "leadership" in the title. While this trend has reminded us of the critical importance of leadership and sometimes greatly inspired us on to greater achievements in life and work, it also has diffused the concept of leadership to the extent that the term has become almost useless in really helping people to become more effective in organizations.

Leadership Cube (TM)

Different people tend to talk about leadership from many different perspectives and not even realize that they are doing so. It is very simplistic to generalize about leadership as if the term applies the same way in every situation. Understanding the concept of leadership requires more than reading a few articles or fantasizing about what great leaders should be. To really understand leadership, one must understand "Leadership Cube." The Cube represents at least 20 different perspectives on leadership.

The Cube includes the following dimensions:
1) five domains of leadership
2) two contexts of leadership
3) two orientations of leadership

Imagine each of these 3 dimensions along one side of a box, or cube. That would produce a cube with 20 smaller cells (5 times 2 times 2 = 20). Each of the 20 cells represents a unique perspective on leadership. You might consider some or all of the cells the next time that you use the term "leadership" in your studies, writings, research, discussions, etc.

Five Domains of Leadership

Domain

Relevant Leadership Skills

Leading yourself Time management, stress management, assertiveness, etc.
Leading other individuals Coaching, mentoring, delegating, etc.
Leading other groups Meeting management, facilitation skills, etc.
Leading organizations Strategic planning, Balanced Scorecard, etc.
Leading communities, societies, etc. Community organizing, political skills, etc.

Two Contexts of Leadership

Context

Focus of Context

Roles Board Chair, Chief Executive Officer, executive roles, etc.
Traits Charismatic, influential, ethical, etc.

Two Orientations of Leadership

(see NOTE below)

Orientation

Leadership Values

Results-oriented Timeliness, efficiency, work direction, authority, etc.
Relationship-oriented Participation, empowerment, relationships, etc.

NOTE: The orientation of leadership is adapted from the Hersey-Blanchard situational model of leadership in "Management of Organizational Behavior: Utilizing Human Resources", Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1982.

Also see
Related Library Topics

Learn More in the Library's Blog Related to Leadership

In addition to the articles on this current page, see the following blog which has posts related to Leadership. Scan down the blog's page to see various posts. Also see the section "Recent Blog Posts" in the sidebar of the blog or click on "next" near the bottom of a post in the blog.

Library's Leadership Blog

 

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For the Category of Leadership:

To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.

Related Library Topics

Recommended Books

There is an explosion of books about leadership. Some are about broad and general philosophies, paradigms, visions and values. Others are about more specific models and theories. Still, others are about even more specific tips and tools. Bibliographies of books on leadership span numerous pages. The books mentioned on these pages are a reasonable beginning. They are focused on books with both foundational principles and practical tips and tools.

Note that, although many perspectives on leadership are about leading other individuals and groups, there are other domains of leadership, including leading oneself and organizations. The books referenced from this page are in regard to all domains of leadership.



Leading For-Profits and Nonprofits

There is much more in common between leading a for-profit and nonprofit than many people might realize. Small nonprofits are a lot more like small for-profits, than large nonprofits. Similarly, large nonprofits are a lot more like large for-profits, than small nonprofits. Nonprofits often include leading volunteers. A section, later on below, provides more books about leading specifically in nonprofits.

Leadership and Supervision in Business - Book Cover Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision in Business
by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC.
Includes step-by-step guidelines, tips and tools to effectively lead:
1. Yourself
2. Other individuals in the business
3. Groups and teams in the business
4. Business organizations
5. As well as all functions within the business organization.

Many of the Library's materials about business, leadership and management are adapted from this book. Just click on the title of the book above to see the Index and Table of Contents.

Leading Nonprofits

The following books are recommended because of their highly practical nature and often because they include a wide range of information about this Library topic. To get more information about each book, just click on the image of the book. Also, a "bubble" of information might be displayed. You can click on the title of the book in that bubble to get more information, too.

Leadership and Supervision With Nonprofit Staff - Book Cover Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision With Nonprofit Staff
by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC.
Includes step-by-step guidelines, tips and tools customized for personnel in nonprofits to effectively lead:
1. Yourself
2. Other individuals in the nonprofit
3. Groups and teams in the nonprofit
4. Nonprofit organizations
5. As well as all functions within the nonprofit organization.

Many of the Library's materials about nonprofit leadership and management are adapted from this book. Just click on the title of the book above to see the Index and Table of Contents.

Also see

For Leading Yourself
Personal Development -- Related Books

For Leading Other Individuals
Supervision -- Related Books

For Leading Teams
Facilitation and Teams -- Related Books

For Leading Organizations
Organizational Development -- Recommended Books

For Management
Management -- Recommended Books




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