Although I have no experience working in large or even middling small businesses, the question of leadership, what it is, and what it concerns, and how it is to be developed, arises through my interest in organizational development and professional development practices. (Leadership is germane to entrepreneurial businesses too, but entrepreneurs aren’t very often very thoughtful leaders.) There isn’t one optimal model of leadership, mostly because there isn’t one optimal vision of what it concerns. (There is agreement about one aspect: leaders are almost always very intelligent.)
Three classic books on leadership have come to the top of my reading stack recently. Their particular visions of leadership are different. Two of the books are about the same vision, Servant Leadership. The other is even more fascinating, because it is about synchronicity and leadership. The books with links to Amazon are:
Jaworski’s fine autobiographical book doesn’t directly comment on Greenleaf’s equally interesting concepts. However, Jaworski’s psychological view, drawn from Jung, implicitly expands upon the concretized, (thus engaged with institutional and social reality,) and less psychological views of Greenleaf, et. al. There is no ideal concrete relationship between these two ‘realities’. They stand in dynamic relationship to each other. But, this flux of relationship between business/personal spirit and business/personal soul nevertheless promises radical possibilities: above all, leadership forged in the crucible of the experience of reflective psyche.
This very same critical tension first came to my attention nine years ago in two superb books, Leadership Without Easy Answers. Ronald Heifetz; and Kinds of Power;James Hillman. Both are classics; Hillman’s would be so just for his suggestion that profit is not just one kind of profit, and his psychological and imaginal exegis of both power and profit.
While I on this subject, James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner’s The Leadership Challenge is a must read book in the field. Both authors have been asserting intrapersonal and interpersonal ‘values-oriented’ perspectives against the conventionalist instrumental and ‘scientific-operational’ perspectives for some time. Warren Bennis may be the most cogent analyst of leadership of them all; see: On Becoming a Leader may be the most read book about leadership. My favorite Bennis book is his recent Geeks and Geezers.