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The Center for Creative Leadership Handbook of Leadership Development, Third Edition by Marian N. Ruderman, Ellen Van Velsor, Cynthia D. McCauley

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Chapter 14. Developing Interdependent Leadership

Wilfred H. Drath

Charles J. Palus

John B. McGuire

In the Introduction to this handbook, leadership development is defined as the expansion of a collective's capacity to produce direction, alignment, and commitment (DAC). This chapter explores the practical meaning of that definition by applying it to case studies of leadership development in organizations. The focus is on the development of what we call interdependent leadership—a high-capacity approach to producing DAC.

We conceive of interdependent leadership as a highly developed stage of leadership culture that can produce DAC in challenging contexts that demand collaboration across boundaries and the inclusion of more diverse perspectives and values, and in which outcomes are more emergent and less predictable. Increasingly groups and organizations face such challenges when they attempt to be more open and responsive in their relations with suppliers and customers, as their workers become more educated and diverse, as they increase the amount of work done by interdisciplinary teams, and as they attempt to unify globally dispersed operations around a single vision. Because these aspirations entail considerable new complexity and ambiguity, they increase the difficulty of creating and maintaining DAC. Thus, they often demand significant leadership development.

Leadership development aims to change the leadership culture of a collective; this means it aims to change beliefs and practices ...

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