The Powers to Lead
An innovative general introduction to leader types and the basic facets of leadership, enriches our understanding of the concept immeasurably. — Oxford University Press
Leadership is always necessary in any endeavor, applying equally to politics, business, society, and culture. Yet the perception of effective leadership has changed in our era. The older model of a heroic, authoritarian leader-picture the hardcharging, demanding CEO or even General George C. Patton-is part of modern American folklore folklore. The new conventional wisdom, though, tells us that this model has given way to the “soft” leader ideal, where leaders inspire their followers and avoid acting like dictators.
Joseph Nye’s The Powers to Lead, an innovative general introduction to leader types and the basic facets of leadership, enriches our understanding of the concept immeasurably. Throughout, Nye highlights how the changing nature of leadership derives from broader social and political changes. As Nye shows, some leaders fit the new model and rely on charisma and persuasion, while others typify the old authoritarian style. But as he also explains, today’s effective leaders have the ability to utilize both approaches depending on changing circumstances. To illustrate his argument, Nye applies his famous “soft power” concept to leadership, showing through a number of examples how the power to persuade and inspire is a key attribute of most good leaders today.
By covering political and social leadership in addition to business leadership, The Powers to Lead offers the most ambitious treatment of the subject to date. And by offering a a concise general theory that extends the concept outward across all of society, The Powers to Lead should stand a classic in the field.