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.

Lighting the Path: The Invisible Leadership Study

Lighting the path: The invisible leadership study

We asked in Chapter 1, Does leadership involve a different dynamic from classic leader-centric concepts when people already understand and are committed to an important purpose? When they know what needs to be done and willingly use their talents and skills to accomplish the work? When they hold themselves responsible and accountable for achieving the common purpose? When they sometimes seem to put the purpose ahead of their personal interests? The answer is a resounding “Yes!”

These next two chapters are for those who want to drill down into the actual responses and data of our survey. We also encourage future research and want to provide a framework of our methodology and thinking.

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