The Power of Invisible Leadership: How a Compelling Common Purpose Inspires Exceptional Leadership

Books

Gill Robinson Hickman & Georgia J. Sorenson

  • Citations
  • Add to My List
  • Text Size

  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Dedication

    To grandson, Ryan Pitcher, with my deepest hope that you will find the passion and commitment of invisible leadership in your life.

    And

    To daughter and friend, Suzanna Strasburg Fitzpatrick, a joy to all.

    Copyright

    View Copyright Page

    Acknowledgments

    We spent many years developing ideas and testing pertinent concepts for this book with various audiences, colleagues, and organizations. Our sincere and heartfelt thanks go to each of you for your contributions, support, and encouragement.

    We are forever indebted to James MacGregor Burns for bringing the two of us together to become lifelong friends and colleagues—just as he knew we would. We are especially grateful to Tammy Tripp, coordinator of communications and academic research at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, for her expert editing, her persistent requests for permissions and information, and her wonderful disposition and patience. We also want to thank Cassie Price, who edited our initial paper on invisible leadership.

    Writing this book would not have been possible without the special support and expertise of Traci Fenton, founder and CEO of WorldBlu, and Harvey Seifter, director and principal investigator at The Art of Science Learning and president of Seifter Associates. We are infinitely grateful for the time and contributions of our survey participants, who are from organizations currently or previously on the WorldBlu List of Most Democratic Workplaces, including AIESEC International, Axiom News, BetterWorld Telecom, Brainpark, Chroma Technology, Dialog Group, Dreamhost, Equal Exchange, Future Considerations, http://Glassdoor.com, Haiti Partners, ILoveRewards, Innovation Partners International, Menlo Innovations, Mindvalley, Nearsoft, NixonMcInnes, Rypple, sweetriot, TakingITGlobal, and UniversalGiving.

    We especially want to thank our faculty colleagues at the Jepson School—Don Forsyth for graciously contributing his expertise in statistical analysis for our preliminary and final surveys, and Crystal Hoyt for her help with conceptualization, hypothesis development, and analysis. Thank you to Terry Price for his contributions to our discussion of the ethics of invisible leadership. The three of you gave so selflessly of your time and expertise to this project. You supported us to the very end, and we are truly appreciative.

    Early and dedicated readers and supporters include Francie Glendening, Jean Lipman-Blumen, David Gergen, Krish Raval, Bruce Avolio, and Deborah Meehan.

    Many students at the Jepson School contributed to the early development of concepts and survey questions for this project. We wish to thank our students in the Senior Seminar on Invisible Leadership for strengthening the conceptual elements in our theory—Devron Allen, Evan Baum, Christa Chamberlain, Kelly Decker, Cammy Desmond, Will Gooding, Sara Hormell, Janelle Hubert, Nathan Marconi, Patricia North, Laura Pendleton, Kristen Peterson, Katherine Ponzio, Liz Rupp, Amy Scalia, Danny Silver, Katie Sloan, Jonathan Stells, and Benjamin Tengwall. We are also appreciative of the insights on invisible leadership from students in the Theories and Models of Leadership classes and for their input on the survey questions.

    Participants at several International Leadership Association annual conferences played a vital role in the development of our ideas. We especially want to thank attendees at the session and roundtable discussion of invisible leadership and those who have adopted our model in research activities. Your comments, advice, and work helped us immeasurably.

    We are thankful to the editors and staff of SAGE Publications for their expertise and support during the editing and publication of the book, especially Patricia Quinlin, Katie Guarino, Lisa Shaw, MaryAnn Vail, the late Al Bruckner, Laureen Gleason, and Stephanie Palermini. The authors and SAGE Publications would like to thank the following reviewers for their wisdom and advice: Alison L. Antes, PhD, Northern Kentucky University; Frederick Brockmeier, JD, PhD, Northern Kentucky University; Ginny Russell Curley, PhD, Nebraska Methodist College; Douglas Davenport, PhD, Truman State University; Rosa A. Gonzalez, PhD, SUNY Erie Community College; Bryan Patterson, PhD, Johnson C. Smith University; and Angela Nicole Scott, PhD, Lehigh University.

    On a personal note, we would like to thank our family and friends for their love and support during the course of our work on this project. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to Gill's husband, Garrison Michael Hickman, for his supportive and loving care throughout the preparation of this book. He made every sacrifice to ensure that we were able to bring this book to fruition. Ms. Punky and Mr. Brewster played their own invisible role in supporting the work, but Michael deserves our deepest appreciation.

  • Appendix: Invisible Leadership Survey

    Questions

    This survey focuses on your view of your organization's purpose, where

    • organization refers to your work unit—the group of people you work with most directly, and
    • purpose or common purpose refers to the organization's basic reason for existing, including its mission and multiple bottom lines.

    Please check the best response to each question.

    • The main reason I joined my organization is its
      • Compensation (pay and/or benefits).
      • Purpose.
      • Brand or reputation.
      • Location (proximity) to my home.
      • Team members or coworkers.
      • Work environment.
      • Professional growth or career opportunities.
      • Job security.
      • Job opening/available position.
      • Other (please specify)_______
    • The main reason I stay at my organization is its
      • Compensation (pay and/or benefits).
      • Purpose.
      • Brand or reputation.
      • Location (proximity) to my home.
      • Team members or coworkers.
      • Work environment.
      • Professional growth or career opportunities.
      • Job security.
      • Job opening/available position.
      • Other (please specify)______
    • Please describe your organization's purpose.

    • I am highly committed to achieving my organization's purpose.
      • Strongly disagree
      • Disagree
      • Somewhat disagree
      • Neutral
      • Somewhat agree
      • Agree
      • Strongly agree

      Comments:

    • My coworkers accept the organization's purpose as their own.
      • Strongly disagree
      • Disagree
      • Somewhat disagree
      • Neutral
      • Somewhat agree
      • Agree
      • Strongly agree
      • I don't know

      Comments:

    • I accept the organization's purpose as my own.
      • Strongly disagree
      • Disagree
      • Somewhat disagree
      • Neutral
      • Somewhat agree
      • Agree

      Comments:

    • The organization's purpose reflects my personal passion.
      • Strongly disagree
      • Disagree
      • Somewhat disagree
      • Neutral
      • Somewhat agree
      • Agree
      • Strongly agree

      Comments:

    • My organization's purpose inspires me to contribute my best effort or work.
      • Strongly disagree
      • Disagree
      • Somewhat disagree
      • Neutral
      • Somewhat agree
      • Agree
      • Strongly agree

      Comments:

    • My organization's purpose inspires my coworkers to contribute their best effort or work.
      • Strongly disagree
      • Disagree
      • Somewhat disagree
      • Neutral
      • Somewhat agree
      • Agree
      • Strongly agree
      • I don't know

      Comments:

    • My organization acknowledges individuals for outstanding work toward achieving the purpose.
      • Strongly disagree
      • Disagree
      • Somewhat disagree
      • Neutral
      • Somewhat agree
      • Agree
      • Strongly agree

      Comments:

    • Members of my organization recognize or praise each other for outstanding work toward achieving the purpose.
      • Strongly disagree
      • Disagree
      • Somewhat disagree
      • Neutral
      • Somewhat agree
      • Agree
      • Strongly agree
      • I don't know

      Comments:

    • Our work toward the organization's purpose creates a strong bond or relationship among its members.
      • Strongly disagree
      • Disagree
      • Somewhat disagree
      • Neutral
      • Somewhat agree
      • Agree
      • Strongly agree

      Comments:

    • I have a strong bond or relationship with members of my organization.
      • Strongly disagree
      • Disagree
      • Somewhat disagree
      • Neutral
      • Somewhat agree
      • Agree
      • Strongly agree

      Comments:

    • I feel I have the power to act on behalf of my organization's purpose.
      • Strongly disagree
      • Disagree
      • Somewhat disagree
      • Neutral
      • Somewhat agree
      • Agree
      • Strongly agree

      Comments:

    • Most members of my organization feel they have the power to act on behalf of our purpose.
      • Strongly disagree
      • Disagree
      • Somewhat disagree
      • Neutral
      • Somewhat agree
      • Agree
      • Strongly agree
      • I don't know

      Comments:

    • I am willing to work in either a leader or team member role to reach the organization's common goal.
      • Strongly disagree
      • Disagree
      • Somewhat disagree
      • Neutral
      • Somewhat agree
      • Agree
      • Strongly agree

      Comments:

    • I am willing to work in a role that is not visible to people outside my organization to achieve my organization's purpose.
      • Strongly disagree
      • Disagree
      • Somewhat disagree
      • Neutral
      • Somewhat agree
      • Agree
      • Strongly agree

      Comments:

    • I am willing to work in a visible role as a spokesperson or representative to achieve my organization's purpose.
      • Strongly disagree
      • Disagree
      • Somewhat disagree
      • Neutral
      • Somewhat agree
      • Agree
      • Strongly agree

      Comments:

    • I place our common purpose above my personal interests or desires, when necessary.
      • Strongly disagree
      • Disagree
      • Somewhat disagree
      • Neutral
      • Somewhat agree
      • Agree
      • Strongly agree

      Comments:

    • My coworkers place our common purpose above their personal interests or desires, when necessary.
      • Strongly disagree
      • Disagree
      • Somewhat disagree
      • Neutral
      • Somewhat agree
      • Agree
      • Strongly agree
      • I don't know

      Comments:

    • My coworkers know how or when to make use of key opportunities (occasions, decisive moments, turning points) that make achieving our common purpose possible.
      • Strongly disagree
      • Disagree
      • Somewhat disagree
      • Neutral
      • Somewhat agree
      • Agree
      • Strongly agree
      • I don't know

      Comments:

    • My coworkers know how to find resources (financial, human, or technological) that make achieving our common purpose possible.
      • Strongly disagree
      • Disagree
      • Somewhat disagree
      • Neutral
      • Somewhat agree
      • Agree
      • Strongly agree
      • I don't know

      Comments:

    • Please describe a situation in which you were inspired to take action or leadership on behalf of your organization's purpose.
    • Additional comments about the influence of your organization's purpose on you or your coworkers:

    Demographic Information
    • Name of your organization or company?

    • Sector:
      • Business/corporation
      • Nonprofit/nongovernmental organization
      • Government
      • Education (K-12)
      • Higher education
      • B corporation
      • Other (please specify)_
    • Which category best describes your connection to the organization or company?
      • Employee/team member/staff member
      • Faculty member/instructor
      • Manager/supervisor/team leader
      • Executive/senior manager/senior leader
      • Other (please specify)_
    • I am a
      • Full-time employee
      • Part-time employee
      • Volunteer
      • Retiree or emeritus member
      • Other (please specify)_
    • How many years have you been employed by this organization?

    • I am a
      • Male
      • Female
    • My age (in years)

    Researchers may use this survey free of charge with the proper citation of this text. Please let us know of your results.

    About the Authors

    Dr. Gill Robinson Hickman is currently professor emerita in the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond. She was an inaugural faculty member of the Jepson School and participated in its institution building and course development. Hickman has held positions as dean, professor of public administration, and human resource director. She has published several books, including Leading Change in Multiple Contexts: Concepts and Practices in Organizational, Community, Political, Social, and Global Change Settings; Leading Organizations: Perspectives for a New Era (1st and 2nd editions); and Managing Personnel in the Public Sector: A Shared Responsibility, with Dalton Lee. She also published numerous articles and book chapters in the field of leadership studies.

    Her experience has led to invitations to present at the China Executive Leadership Academy Pudong (CELAP), Shanghai, China, and at the Leadership in Central Europe Conference at Palacky University in Olomouc, Czech Republic, and to be a panel member at international conferences in Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Guadalajara, Mexico; and Vancouver and Toronto, Canada. She was also a faculty presenter at the prestigious Salzburg Seminar in Salzburg, Austria, and at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, where she presented a conceptual framework for leadership and transformation for regional governments in South Africa. Hickman served as vice president and board member of the International Leadership Association and participates annually in its conference as a panel member or chair. She has used her expertise over the years to advise countless leadership studies programs nationally and internationally. E-mail contact: ghickman@richmond.edu.

    Dr. Georgia J. Sorenson envisioned and launched the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership at the University of Maryland—the first academic program devoted to public leadership—more than 20 years ago. She is cofounder of the International Leadership Association (with Larraine Matusak and James MacGregor Burns). Currently she is visiting professor of leadership studies at the Carey School of Law at the University of Maryland. She has served as a board member of the Leadership Learning Community, the Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance, the Academy for Educational Development's New Voices, the Asian Pacific American Women's Leadership Institute, Learning to Lead, and many other leadership organizations in the United States and abroad. Sorenson is the author of several books, including Dead Center: Clinton-Gore Leadership and the Perils of Moderation with James MacGregor Burns, published in 1999 by Scribner. Sorenson is coeditor, with George R. Goethals and James MacGregor Burns, of the four-volume Encyclopedia of Leadership, published by SAGE in 2004. She has published in professional journals, such as the Harvard Educational Review, Signs, and Psychology of Women Quarterly, and is a frequent contributor to and commentator on leadership and social issues in the popular media.

    Sorenson's experience has led to numerous international consultancies and teaching appointments. She was adjunct professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea; serves as professor and adviser to China's National School of Administration; and was on the international board of the Tokyo Jogakkan College in Japan. Previously she served on the advisory board of the Thierry Graduate School of Leadership. Before launching her career in academia, Sorenson was a senior policy analyst for employment issues in the Carter White House and later worked as a consultant to the Executive Office of the President. During her White House tenure, she served on the White House Productivity Council and on Vice President Walter Mondale's Youth Employment Council. She continues to be politically active and has served as a speechwriter or consultant to three presidential campaigns. E-mail contact: gsorenson@law.umaryland.edu.


    • Loading...
Back to Top

Copy and paste the following HTML into your website