Apr 16, 2020
Winner of the University of San Diego Outstanding Leadership Book Award 2012!
Shortlisted for the British Psychological Society Book Award 2011!
Shortlisted for the CMI (Chartered Management Institute) Management Book of the Year Award 2011–2012!
According to John Adair, the most important word in the leader's vocabulary is "we" and the least important word is "I". But if this is true, it raises one important question: why do psychological analyses of leadership always focus on the leader as an individual – as the great "I"?
One answer is that theorists and practitioners have never properly understood the psychology of "we-ness". This book fills this gap by presenting a new psychology of leadership that is the result of two decades of research inspired by social identity and self-categorization theories. The book argues that to succeed, leaders need to create, champion, and embed a group identity in order to cultivate an understanding of 'us' of which they themselves are representative. It also shows how, by doing this, they can make a material difference to the groups, organizations, and societies that they lead.
Written in an accessible and engaging style, the book examines a range of central theoretical and practical issues, including the nature of group identity, the basis of authority and legitimacy, the dynamics of justice and fairness, the determinants of followership and charisma, and the practice and politics of leadership.
The book will appeal to academics, practitioners and students in social and organizational psychology, sociology, political science and anyone interested in leadership, influence and power.
Recent research in psychology points to secrets of effective leadership that radically challenge conventional wisdom
"Today we've had a national tragedy," announced President George W. Bush, addressing the nation for the first time on September 11, 2001. "Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country." Bush then promised "to hunt down and to find those folks who committed this act." These remarks, made from Emma T. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Fla., may not seem extraordinary, but in subtle ways they exemplify Bush's skill as a leader. When viewed through the lens of a radical new theory of leadership, Bush's 9/11 address contains important clues to how the president solidified his political power in his early months and years in office.
In the past, leadership scholars considered charisma, intelligence and other personality traits to be the key to effective leadership. Accordingly, these academics thought that good leaders use their inborn talents to dominate followers and tell them what to do, with the goal either of injecting them with enthusiasm and willpower that they would otherwise lack or of enforcing compliance. Such theories suggest that leaders with sufficient character and will can triumph over whatever reality they confront.
In recent years, however, a new picture of leadership has emerged, one that better accounts for leadership performance. In this alternative view, effective leaders must work to understand the values and opinions of their followers--rather than assuming absolute authority--to enable a productive dialogue with followers about what the group embodies and stands for and thus how it should act. By leadership, we mean the ability to shape what followers actually want to do, not the act of enforcing compliance using rewards and punishments.
Alex is Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology and Australian Laureate Fellow at the University of Queensland. His research focuses on the study of group and identity processes in organizational, social, and clinical contexts.
Together with colleagues, Alex has written and edited 14 books and published over 240 peer-reviewed articles on these topics. His most recent books are The New Psychology of Health: Unlocking the Social Cure (with Catherine Haslam, Jolanda Jetten, Tegan Cruwys and Genvieve Dingle, Routledge, 2018),The New Psychology of Leadership: Identity, Influence and Power (with Stephen Reicher & Michael Platow, Psychology Press, 2011), and Social Psychology: Revisiting the Classic Studies (2nd Ed. with Joanne Smith, Sage, 2017).
Alex is a former Chief Editor of the European Journal of Social Psychology and currently Associate Editor of The Leadership Quarterly. In 2005 he won the European Association of Social Psychology's Kurt Lewin Medal for outstanding scientific contribution; in 2013 he won the International Leadership Association's Outstanding Leadership Book Award for The New Psychology of Leadership (with Steve Reicher and Michael Platow); in 2016 he won the British Psychology Society Presidents' Award for distinguished contributions to psychological knowledge; in 2017 he won the International Society for Political Psychology's Sanford Prize for distinguished contributions to political psychology, and the Australian Psychological Society's Workplace Excellence Award for Leadership Development (with Nik Steffens & Kim Peters); in 2018 he won the Australian Psychological Society's Award for Distinguished Contribution to Psychological Science.