A powerful force draws people to leadership in countless businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, and social movements–we call it invisible leadership. Invisible leadership embodies situations in which dedication to a compelling and deeply held common purpose is the motivating force for leadership. Common purpose is more than a mission statement. It is a profound sense of common destiny, a life course or calling, aligned with a mission that resonates profoundly with our values and our sense of ourselves and others.
This readable, research-based book shows readers how invisible leadership exists in the space between leaders and followers, artists and subjects, and purposes and people. Rather than reinforcing the idea that leadership is embodied in celebrity leaders or in gifted and charismatic individuals, the well known and highly admired authors of this insightful new book identify “charisma of purpose” as the motivating force for invisible leadership. A brief discussion of how invisible leadership impacts businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, and social movements guides the reader toward an understanding of the antecedents and possibilities of this way of thinking.
This book explores the idea of invisible leadership—leadership in which the common purpose, rather than any particular individual, is the invisible leader that inspires leaders and followers to take action on its behalf. It is an idea that often goes unrecognized in the study and practice of leadership. We will examine stories and organizations where invisible leadership propels groups to the highest levels of commitment, innovation, and success. We will also provide evidence of the power of invisible leadership in action.
What we will describe exists in the space between people and in their shared dreams. Although that space is completely invisible, the effect is immensely powerful. We have called this region “the space between” and compared it to American jazz great Thelonious ...