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Journal cover: Strategy & Leadership

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572
Incorporates: The Antidote

Online from: 1975

Subject Area: Strategy

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Leaders and leadership – many theories, but what advice is reliable?

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Title:Leaders and leadership – many theories, but what advice is reliable?
Author(s):Robert J. Allio, (Management career includes both senior corporate and academic positions. A principal of Allio Associates, a strategy consultancy located in Providence, RI (
Citation:Robert J. Allio, (2013) "Leaders and leadership – many theories, but what advice is reliable?", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 41 Iss: 1, pp.4 - 14
Keywords:Coaching, Followers, Leader, Leadership advice, Leadership history, Leadership paradigm, Potential leaders, Toxic leaders, Training
Article type:Conceptual paper
DOI:10.1108/10878571311290016 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

PurposeThe paper seeks to use the experience of the author, a veteran consultant and author of many articles on leadership, who aims to summarize several fundamental concepts that have shaped the current debate about leaders and leadership. The author's goal is to dispel some leadership myths and offer some advice to leaders about how to perform more effectively in their roles.

Design/methodology/approachTaking the long view, the author concludes that leadership actually emerges or develops over time – not at a unique specific instant. It seems to appear and then disappear; it is elusive.

FindingsInvisible forces act on the leadership process: the expectations of the followers, the culture of the organization and the circumstances. The task at hand and the context seem to dictate when and how leadership appears. The leadership dynamic thus depends on the situation.

Practical implicationsThe primary role of the leader must be to develop a culture that enables individuals to coalesce around the shared purpose of the enterprise.

Originality/valueLeaders act like Higgs bosons, activating and energizing the members of the organization as they interact. And like the boson, leadership may show up in the power it imparts to effective, committed followers.

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