Leadership: Authentic, Christian, and Transformational
Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice: A Harvard Business School Centennial Colloquium by Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana, Editors.
According to the editors, Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana, leadership research has been neglected for a long time by academia. This left the field wide open for popular authors or self-serving professionals to enrich themselves by making astounding claims to their readers that had no scientific validity. As a corrective to this approach, these editors have published this book with, “the primary purpose of stimulating serious scholarly research on leadership.”  In this endeavor they have utilized academic scholarship from a diversity of disciplines to weigh in on exploring and researching outcomes that produce high caliber leaders in this generation and the next.
It seems that the targeted audiences for this book are the academic researchers already engaged in ongoing conversations with one another about specific matters relative to the various disciplines including leadership research. Unlike some of the other books we have been reading of a theoretical nature, this book analyzes the relationship between theory and practice. In this book we are able to look at the dynamics of historical leadership research described with some of the same themes and language as previous reading material such as: borderless world, power and control, cultural perspectives, social and linguistic differences, globalization, and conceptions of self-identity.
This book is the end product of Harvard Business School’s centennial colloquium on “Leadership: Advancing an Intellectual Discipline.” It represents the compilation of the papers submitted to the colloquium by leading scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds addressing an agenda for future leadership research. The book also includes other scholarly papers in order to provide more thorough and comprehensive viewpoints.
The editors’ stated goal in producing this volume is, “to provide a variety of perspectives on different dimensions of leadership, and thereby to convey its multiple meanings, units of analysis, and complexity.”  This is especially demonstrated by the categories into which the sections of the book are divided that highlight the contentious nature of the research process. The chapters end with a plethora of references, mostly for academic theorists and scholars, but a few here and there might have some significance for participants in the LGP6 program.
I was impressed with Bruce Avolio’s paper in chapter 25, “Pursuing Authentic Leadership Development,” in which he brings the moral element of leadership into focus. The concept was originally introduced to him in a book by Jim Burns that discussed transformational leadership which Burns characterized as leaders who are “inspiring, morally uplifting, and focused on developing followers into leaders.”  Another resource Avolio came across was a book by Mary Parker Follett in which she stated, “Leadership is not defined by the exercise of power but by the capacity to increase the sense of power among those led.”  I agree with Avolio that these examples “constitute good leadership.”
Avolio concluded that developing a moral perspective and grounding followers morally were key elements in authentic leadership development for transformational leaders. Putting the fundamentals of his thesis into a Christian moral context, I can see how this information would be of great value to me in my leadership development in the DMINLGP program. I desire to be a Christian transformational leader to marginalized children by inculcating them with moral and ethical principles/ precepts of the Bible and to be instrumental in empowering them to becoming the next generation of authentic leaders who are Christian.
1. Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana, eds., Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice: A Harvard Business School Centennial Colloquium (Boston: Harvard Business Press, 2010), 3.
2. Ibid., 6.
3. Bruce Avolio, “Pursuing Authentic Leadership Development,” in Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice: A Harvard Business School Centennial Colloquium. eds. Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana (Boston: Harvard Business Press, 2010) 741.
4. Ibid., 741.
Nohria, Nitin, and Rakesh Khurana.eds. Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice: A Harvard Business School Centennial Colloquium. Boston: Harvard Business Press, 2010.