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Co-Charismatic Leadership

Critical Perspectives on Spirituality, Ethics and Leadership


Simon Robinson and Jonathan Smith

Current theories of leadership, spirituality and ethics are inadequate for the global, rapidly changing and complex environment in which leaders work today. Emerging from this book’s critical analysis comes a new theory of leadership: co-charismatic leadership. This does not mean leadership focused in ‘charisma’, or the special qualities or charm of an individual. Charisma originates from the Greek word for gift or grace. Rather it emphasises the relational nature of charisma, as both shared throughout the community and dependent upon mutual relationships within the community. The charismata are in effect virtues, to be practised in the community by all members, hence the ‘co’ in the title.
The authors argue for a leadership that enables virtues, informed by the ongoing narrative of and dialogue in the community, to be practised in the community and beyond. These virtues enable the practice of responsibility, and taking that responsibility for ideas, values and practice is itself central to leadership. Through the practice of responsibility everybody in the organisation becomes a leader in some way. The task of the authorised leader is to enable all this.
This book will appeal to both practitioner and academic audiences alike as it provides an engaging mix of theory and practical application which tests and applies the concepts explored in a range of practical case studies.
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Praise for Co-Charismatic Leadership


This book takes a contemporary view of Spirituality as relational, rooted and expressed in social life as well as interior reflection. This is brilliantly combined with current theories of leadership that emphasise its dynamic interdependence in complex situations, where right and wrong are not easily distinguished, and success depends on your point of view. The book shows us where to look for leadership, and gives practical guidance for those called to take a lead, and to support others in doing so. I thoroughly commend it to anyone for whom leadership is a responsibility as much as an opportunity.

Jonathan Gosling, Professor of Leadership, University of Exeter.

This fascinating book offers fresh insights into leadership in each chapter. It challenges both leadership theory and practice, and does full justice to the complex job that leaders are expected to do every day. Both researchers and practitioners will benefit enormously from its wisdom.

Dennis Tourish, Professor of Leadership and Organisation Studies, Royal Holloway, University of London.

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