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.

Seeing the Unseen: Experiences with Invisible Leadership

Seeing the unseen: Experiences with invisible leadership

Individuals in our survey offered valuable examples and information about how leaders and members generate invisible leadership in their companies and nonprofit organizations. In this section, we share the words and experiences of many of the respondents that show how this phenomenon works.

Self-Selection and Attraction

People who experience invisible leadership in their organizations describe it in compelling terms. Many survey respondents expressed heartfelt sentiments about their organization's purpose as a primary reason for their attraction to, selection of, and commitment to staying in the organization:

  • The mission is a core driver as to why I am passionate about the work I do, and why I feel I am leading a bigger movement and contributing ...
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