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.

Illuminating the Secrets of Ancient, Hidden, and Modern Wisdom

Illuminating the secrets of ancient, hidden, and modern wisdom

Ancient and Hidden Wisdom

The idea of a common purpose inspiring people to initiate leadership is not a new concept; in fact, it is a very old one. Invisible leadership has deep roots in ancient societies, especially in Chinese, African, and Native American cultures.

In the Chinese tradition, the Taijitu symbol above is familiar to many, representing the one (the individual) in many (the group). The symbol, referred to as yin and yang in the West, does not represent opposing forces but rather interpenetrating and complementary opposites that are one and many, male and female, dark and light.

Individuals and roles (such as the role of leader) are not separate ...

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