While the image of the lone heroic figure often accompanies the term "leader," the most interesting developments in the study of leadership view it as a dynamic process of exchange among several actors beyond a leader and follower.
Scholars have increasingly called for a more nuanced approach to exploring leadership, one that looks more at the "how" than the "what," understands that leadership is embedded in history and context, and recognizes that leadership is a social process imbued with meaning by the group.
Sometimes applying a collective lens demands a participatory approach to research in which all parties involved in the research process are co-researchers rather than objects of study. This approach to research helps to find new ways in which leadership is practiced.
Fostering leadership as a collective achievement means distributing the work of leadership among a group working toward a joint goal. It means emphasizing relationships over a "command and control" style of directing work, promoting sustainable change over efficiency, and appreciating the power of many and multiple voices. Learn more about ways to cultivate leadership as a collective achievement.
Leadership practices are strategic interventions that help build collective power to make change possible. Learn more about RCLA's findings on these practices essential to the work of leadership.
Choices, like that between confrontation and dialogue, may seem to require honoring one over the other. Dealing with paradox artfully is the work of leadership because there are no pre-defined solutions for honoring. Learn more about leadership that embraces paradox.
A Constructionist Lens on Leadership: Charting New Territory
By Sonia Ospina and Georgia Sorenson,
The Quest for a General Theory of Leadership (2006) 188-204.
Appreciative Narratives as Leadership Research: Matching Method to Lens
By Ellen Schall, Sonia Ospina, Bethany Godsoe and Jennifer Dodge. Advances in Appreciative Inquiry, Vol. 1 (2004) 147-170.
The Deep Blue Sea: Rethinking the Source of Leadership
By Wilfred Drath, Jossey-Bass, 2001