This is a book about a radical new approach to leadership. In countless books and articles, pundits have described how business has become global, fiercely competitive, and characterized by the need to cope with breakneck change. You have heard the story. Many organizations have responded by becoming leaner and by broadening the span of control between management layers. They have also attempted to extend the base of leadership and responsibility through well-intentioned programs such as Total Quality Management (TQM), worker participation, participative management, self-directed work teams, and empowerment. Chances are that your organization has adopted or experimented with one or more of these initiatives. Implementation confronts executives, managers, and employees with a complex issue that few have resolved although it is critical to superior organizational performance—the relationship between leaders and followers.

The traditional relationship of the leader and the led in the business world is undergoing a fundamental change. Indeed, postindustrial competition drives us to it. Greater complexity and work specialization, greater task interdependence, more demanding customer requirements, and better educated employees have transformed a world in which leaders were expected to make all the decisions and others were expected to carry them out to the letter. If this relationship ever worked well (and there is ample evidence ...

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