Aug 2, 2007

The New Psychology of Leadership

Feature Article: The New Psychology of Leadership

In recent years, however, a new picture of leadership has emerged, one that better accounts for leadership performance.

In this alternative view, effective leaders must work to understand the values and opinions of their followers—rather than assuming absolute authority—to enable a productive dialogue with followers about what the group embodies and stands for and thus how it should act.

By leadership, we mean the ability to shape what followers actually want to do, not the act of enforcing compliance using rewards and punishments.

Given that good leadership depends on constituent cooperation and support, this new psychology of leadership negates the notion that leadership is exclusively a top-down process.

In fact, it suggests that to gain credibility among followers, leaders must try to position themselves among the group rather than above it.

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