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.

Exposing the Ethics of Invisible Leadership

Exposing the ethics of invisible leadership

Scholars, practitioners, and students invariably ask us: Is there an underlying assumption in invisible leadership that the common purpose is always ethical? Can a group achieve an ethical common purpose using unethical means? Just because a group of people willingly engage in leadership based on a powerful purpose does not mean the purpose is inherently moral, or that the leadership to achieve that purpose is ethical. Groups have led both humanitarian and inhumane endeavors based on their dedication to a common purpose, and they have led efforts to achieve ethical results using unethical means.

We believe the common purpose, its leaders, and its participants should promote ethical means and ends in invisible leadership. Philosopher Al ...

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