What makes someone an effective leader? This question has challenged great thinkers for most of written history, and it is the focus of this chapter. The opening vignette, which described the leadership of Anne Sweeney, cochair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney-ABC Television Group, offers a few clues. Sweeney’s leadership is viewed from several perspectives, all of which are important. The opening vignette also reveals that leadership is no longer yesteryear’s image of the command-and-control boss. Although Sweeney steps in when the situation requires, followers say her success as a leader comes, in part, from trusting them to do their jobs without micromanagement.
Also notice that Sweeney’s leadership is a contrast to the heroic leadership model; she routinely directs the spotlight of success toward her staff rather than herself.
A few years ago, 54 leadership experts from 38 countries reached a consensus that leadership is about influencing, motivating, and enabling others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organizations of which they are members. 2
Leaders apply various forms of influence—particularly persuasion and related tactics that build commitment—to ensure that followers have the motivation and role clarity to achieve specified goals. Leaders also arrange the work environment—such as allocating resources and altering communication patterns—so that employees can achieve organizational objectives more easily.
Leadership isn’t restricted to the executive suite. Anyone in the organization may be a leader in various ways and at various times. 3 This view is known as shared leadership or the leaderful organization . From this emerging view, leadership is plural, not singular. It doesn’t operate out of one formally assigned position or role. Instead, a team or work unit may have several leaders at the same time. One team member might champion the introduction of