|To be published in Collinson, D.; Grint, K.; Jackson, B. and Uhl-Bien, M. (eds)(2011) Sage Handbook of Leadership.
Philosophy of Leadership
Peter Case, Robert French and Peter Simpson
Bristol Centre for Leadership and Organizational Ethics
Bristol Business School
University of the West of England
Bristol BS16 1QY, UK
Author for correspondence:
Director of the Bristol Centre for Leadership and Organizational Ethics
Correspondence address, as above
Tel. +44 (0)117 3283401
Fax. +44 (0)117 3282289
Keywords: leadership, philosophy, wisdom, virtue ethics, Stoicism
Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank Elaine Swan, University of Lancaster, and Martin Wood, University of York, for guiding us toward relevant literature on the topics of gender philosophy and process philosophy respectively. Any mis-readings or mis-renderings of the reference material they supplied is, of course, entirely our responsibility. We should also acknowledge, with thanks, a helpful email exchange between ourselves and Kurt Lampe, Bristol University, and Jonathan Gosling, University of Exeter, concerning translation of Greek and Roman terms pertaining broadly to ‘leadership’.
Philosophy of Leadership
Case, French and Simpson
Introduction: Parameters and Problematics
In a significant sense there is no philosophy of leadership. Such a statement may seem strange as the opening gambit of a chapter that is ostensibly concerned with ‘philosophy of leadership’ but the provocation is not without purpose. Indeed, the assertion may be defended on a number of counts and from a variety of perspectives. In the first place, it would be foolish to claim there to be but one, singular, philosophy of leadership. Common sense dictates that there are, at the very least, multiple philosophies of leadership populating, and coexisting in, the contemporary organizational world. In a post-modern or post-industrial age characterized by fragmentation and individualism it is perhaps unsurprising that philosophies of leadership proliferate. At the limit, it could be argued that there are as many ‘philosophies’ as there are individuals who think of themselves, or are thought of by others, as ‘leaders’ or as occupying leadership roles. We live in an epoch where there are strong Romantic and heroic imperatives to ‘be one’s own person’, to ‘make one’s mark in one’s job or career’ and thus to give expression to one’s individual ‘philosophy’. Much, of course, depends on the precise (or imprecise) semantic boundaries that one places around the terms ‘philosophy’ and ‘leadership’ and with that in mind we intend to give careful attention to possible meanings of these terms. Accordingly, a consideration of the semantic force that philosophy carries in leadership contexts will be central to our concerns in this chapter. In a related but slightly more normative vein, we shall also be asking what semantic force philosophy should carry in relationship to leadership practice.
We do not intend this chapter to be simply a dry chronicle or catalogue of leadership philosophies. For one thing, even were such an audacious project pursued, it would doubtless prove to be more than anyone could possibly accomplish in a lifetime and, for certain, could not be confined to an eight-thousand word chapter. More productive, we suggest, is the task of doing philosophy of leadership. But what exactly might that ‘doing’ entail? At least four strategies of enquiry suggest themselves: (1) to consider the explicit and implicit philosophies informing contemporary leadership studies; (2) to examine the semantics and meaning-in-use of the terms ‘lead’, ‘leader’, ‘leadership’ and their putative relationship to ‘philosophy’; (3) to consider the explicit and implicit philosophies of leadership that may be discovered through an examination of the history of ideas pertaining broadly to ‘leadership’; and, (4) to suggest ways in which ‘leadership philosophy’, in contrast to ‘philosophy of leadership’, might be developed. Each of these four strategies, moreover, reveals a set of problematics and enables the establishment of some general parameters for the philosophical study and practice of leadership.
1. Philosophy of Leadership in Leadership Studies
Leadership studies, as presently constituted, is a relatively new invention. While historians have, since the beginning of recorded history, been attracted to the study of leaders and governance wherever they have been found in human communities and civilizations, as a distinct discipline leadership has been around for barely sixty years or so. It is associated intimately with the growth of the science of organizational behaviour – being something of an offshoot – which developed primarily in the United States from the middle of the twentieth century onward. As a subject discipline, it sought to provide answers to questions concerning how best to lead and govern in the context of mid-twentieth century US institutional and business organizational life. The fashion of the time was to look to science for direction and, accordingly, leadership studies positioned itself as a putative science of individual conduct informed predominantly by psychological and economic theory. Early studies were concerned with exploration of individual ontology whereby various personality traits and characteristics of effective leaders could be established and, most importantly, measured (e.g., Stogdill 1948, 1974). The dominant epistemology of the discipline was positivism and this is a philosophical inheritance that still holds great sway to this day.
Trait theory has largely given way to studies which seek to correlate attributes of the individual leader (qualities, styles or skills) with attributes of a social or organizational context (Tannenbaum & Schmidt 1958, Likert 1961, Fiedler 1967, Hersey & Blanchard 1988). The positivist emphasis, however, still persists and there is much concern within mainstream leadership studies to produce models that hold out the possibility of control and predictability or that represent generalizable principles and can be studied using replicable methods.
A philosophy of leadership applied reflexively to the discipline of leadership studies might seek to expose the epistemological, ontological, methodological and ethical assumptions embedded within the discipline. The project would be to understand the field as relatively positioned in time and space and thus to understand better the social and political processes that have shaped it and given rise to certain types of question that demand certain structures of explanation in response. It might also go further in terms of examining the construction of subjects – ‘leaders’, ‘followers’ - within leadership studies discourses and thereby expose, through a systematic archaeological examination of the literary record, the philosophies of leadership explicitly or implicitly purveyed within it. From a post-structural viewpoint, for example, such an analysis would be certain to reveal ruptures, occlusions and silences produced by the discourse.
Although, as we have suggested, positivism still dominates the language of leadership studies (particularly in the US), alternative epistemologies are beginning to emerge and receive greater attention. Post-structural approaches to the interpretation of history promote a questioning of the individualistic premises of mainstream accounts and also invite an exploration of the various lacunae created by heroic narratives. In the field of leadership studies, the work of Hosking (1988, 2001) and Gemmill and Oakley (1992) has been important in questioning these ‘mythical’ assumptions from a process theory perspective. The challenge has also been taken up by Martin Wood (Wood 2005, 2008) and Donna Ladkin (Wood & Ladkin 2008) who adopt a particularly radical line in their critique of leadership, arguing that our common sense conceptions of leader-follower relationships are fundamentally ‘misplaced’ and require over turning,
Within post-structural philosophy more generally, the role and force of individual action has been challenged by Foucault (1970, 1977) in his analysis of the modern subject. According to Foucault (1977), the subject should be understood not so much as a locus or wielder of powerful resources but as an effect of the sinuous and all pervasive presence of power within social institutions. From a deconstructive standpoint, moreover, mainstream accounts of leadership say as much about the historical genealogy that inform them as they do about an external historical reality. Such narratives leave out at least as much as they include. For example, mainstream positivist studies understand leadership exclusively from a western standpoint and, by definition, neglect alternative traditions and milieu. The historical and anthropological record increasingly draws attention to legacies and approaches to leading and governance that are rooted in non-western philosophies. Another important parameter for the study of leadership philosophy, therefore, relates to approaches, modes of understanding and enactment that find their origins in communities and societies that differ from those of the west. To redress the imbalance requires a concerted effort to embrace wider anthropological (Jones 2005, 2006), post-colonial (Banerjee 2004, Banerjee & Linstead 2001, 2004) and non-western studies of leadership phenomena (Chia 2003, Jullien 2004, Warner & Grint 2006).
Closer to home, as it were, is the relative occlusion within leadership discourses of others who do not meet the stereotype of the white, middle class, male. A more inclusive philosophy of leadership would attend to the marginalization that results from the gendering of discourse and seek to reintroduce the voices of those who are underrepresented in mainstream theories and practices of leadership. While there is a growing body of literature that attends to a leadership problematic with respect to gender (Blackmore 1999, Blackmore & Sachs 2007, Ford 2005, 2006, Ford & Harding 2007, Sinclair 2005, Swan 2006) and diversity more generally (Puwar, 2004), these domains of critical leadership philosophy remain ripe for further development.
2. A Language Philosophy of Leadership
Another approach to the doing of philosophy of leadership would be to pay close attention to language use, ‘conscious of the words as elements of the problems’ (Williams, 1983, p. 16). In contrast to ‘barber or barley or bean’, philosophy and leadership are what Williams (1983) calls ‘words of a different kind’, embodying as they do ‘ideas and values’ (p. 17). Our intention in this regard is to consider the etymology and history of these two terms, thereby exposing some unexpected meanings and connotations that are, as it were, archaeologically embedded within the discourse. Adopting a broadly Wittgensteinian method of enquiry, we seek to analyse the contextual meaning-in-use of the terms (Wittgenstein, 1972 ). Our purpose is to demonstrate the variety of meanings that accrue to these words in ordinary language use, as opposed to more technically defined applications of the words.
The phrase ‘philosophy of leadership’ brings together words separated by well over two millennia, philosophia first appearing around the fifth century B.C.E. (Hadot, 2002, p.15) and leadership in 1821 (OED). It is inevitable that over a span of so many years the meaning of ‘philosophy’ in the western tradition has ebbed and flowed with the changing tides of culture and belief so that despite an apparent continuity of meaning the term has, in fact, expressed radically different meanings at different times. The ‘problem’ with leadership, by contrast, may be that it emerged at a particular moment in the history of the West and that, as a result, its meaning has in some ways become fixed. The enormous energy that has gone into exploring what else leadership might mean may, paradoxically, have emptied it of meaning.
The word leadership is notably lacking from Williams’ Keywords, even from the revised and updated, 1983 edition. More surprisingly, it does not appear either in the radically revised New Keywords (Bennett et al., 2005), despite what has amounted in that period to an obsession with leadership roles, whether in politics, business, sport, or entertainment – ‘celebrities’ as leaders. The growth of the literature on leadership in the academic world has been exponential (see Table 1): ‘The hunger and quest for leadership knowledge appears to be insatiable’ (Jackson and Parry, 2008, p. 9.). Equally striking, however, is the fact that whereas Williams saw fit to include an entry on philosophy in both editions of his work, it has simply been removed without comment from the 2005 New Keywords. It is as if neither leadership nor philosophy any longer plays a significant role in the Vocabulary of Culture and Society, the subtitle of both books.
Here we find that the classical meaning of philosophy has been diluted significantly, becoming little more than a synonym for ‘personal attitude’ or ‘preferred approach’. Williams ends his entry on philosophy (1983, pp. 235-6) by noting its increasing use ‘in managerial and bureaucratic talk’, where he observes that it can mean ‘general policy’ but that just as often it simply indicates ‘the internal assumptions or even the internal procedures of a business or institution’. He offers entertaining but telling examples: ‘the philosophy of selling through the philosophy of motorways to the philosophy of supermarkets’ (p.236, original emphases). Since Williams wrote this in 1983, meaning has continued to drain from the word, as reflected, for example, in statements by business leaders and politicians, who use the phrase ‘my philosophy of leadership’ as little more than a grandiose way of saying, ‘what I do’.
While philosophy has always been an ‘essentially contested concept’ (Gallie 1955/56), the schools representing the philosophical tradition have also always been linked by a ‘golden string’ (Blake 1979, p.345 - Jerusalem, Plate 77). Far from merely describing ‘what I do’, Hadot suggests that ‘what the philosopher profoundly wants, what interests him [sic] in the strongest sense of the term [is] the answer to the question “How should I live?”’ (2002, p. 273). The philosopher’s underlying intention was ‘not to develop a discourse which had its end in itself but to act upon souls’ (p. 274, emphasis added).
What has been lost, therefore – and it is this which is of fundamental importance to the philosophy of leadership – is the fact that traditionally philosophy was not just a discourse, not just an intellectual exercise of words, concepts and definitions, but a way of life (Hadot, 1995.) In this sense, while currently there may be no philosophy of leadership in this sense beyond largely empty posturing, Hadot’s notion opens up its potentially fundamental significance, by returning us to the essentially ethical roots of both philosophy and leadership.
TABLE 1 ABOUT HERE
A key dimension of the ‘problem’ of leadership may lie in what one might call the ‘slippage’ from verb to concrete role to abstract noun. Where Latin, for example, had both the verb and the role – duco and dux – it did not develop the abstract notion of leader-ship, captured in the English suffix. In English, the verb came first by many centuries. The original, Old English verb lǽdan is an ancient word, pre-dating written English. Its origins have been traced to an Indo-European (Sanskrit) root, meaning to go, go away or die. Lǽdan, meaning ‘to cause [someone] to go with oneself’ (OED), describes the way in which we human beings will show one another the way – and allow ourselves to be shown or guided.
After several centuries in which ‘lead’ was used as a verb, the noun ‘leader’ appeared in written English for the first time around 1300. This is not to suggest that the notion of a leader – that is, a person who leads – had not existed. The word does represent a significant change, however, from leadership as a (gendered) attribute of a role – such as king, queen, noble, bishop, abbot, abbess, elder, father (in family or church), alderman, mayor, teacher, general, captain, and so on – to a separate role defined simply by the activity of leading.
Four centuries later, however, another, most significant shift occurred, first recorded in 1821: from the word ‘leader’ a second noun, ‘leader-ship’, was created. In purely linguistic terms, the shift from ‘lead’ to ‘leadership’ appears unremarkable, a simple sequential development, similar to work → workman → workmanship. However, it may be the historical context which adds real significance to this shift. Although space does not allow for a detailed analysis, it is clear that certain conditions at the start of the 19th century, when the word first appears, may have contributed to the impact it has had on our thinking. The British Empire was approaching its zenith, slavery had not yet been abolished, the industrial revolution was in full swing, Dickens was about to publish the first of his ‘reforming novels’, Oliver Twist (1837). In other words, the traditional structures of society and leading roles, locally, nationally and internationally, were in disarray.
Specifically in relation to leadership, the impact of the notion of the hero is of significance. It had undergone a major transformation in the Romantic period in art and literature through the establishment of the notion of the artist as hero. For example, the concept of ‘creator’, which had only ever been attributed to God, was now used of the – God-like – artist. The notion was then significantly expanded in 1840 - only nineteen years after the first recorded use of the word leadership – when Thomas Carlyle gave his famous lectures On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History, in which he gave the notion of the ‘Great Man’ its first, fully worked expression (Carlyle 1904). The very first paragraph of Carlyle’s first lecture sets out an image which, one might say, replaced any philosophy of leadership with a simple, all-encompassing template:
For, as I take it, Universal History, the history of what man [sic] has accomplished in this world, is at bottom the History of the Great Men who have worked here. They were the leaders of men, these great ones; the modellers, patterns, and in a wide sense creators, of whatsoever the general mass of men contrived to do or to attain; all things that we see standing accomplished in the world are properly the outer material result, the practical realisation and embodiment, of Thoughts that dwelt in the Great Men sent into the world: the soul of the whole world’s history, it may justly be considered, were the history of these (1904, p.1).
From the reception given to the lectures by the large and distinguished audience, it is clear that Carlyle was articulating ideas whose time had come: ‘bishops and all kinds of people had appeared; they heard something new and seemed greatly astonished and greatly pleased. They laughed and applauded’ (Carlyle in Cassirer, 1946, p.189.) In relation to leadership, the key element of his thinking was the direct and explicit description of these ‘great ones’ – ‘the modellers, patterns … creators, … the soul of the whole world’s history’ – precisely as ‘leaders’. No wonder Cassirer, writing in the aftermath of the Second World War, talks of Carlyle’s ideas as ‘a dangerous explosive’ and ‘the beginning of a new revolution’ (1946, pp. 189-190).
The continuing power of the imagery generated by Carlyle’s lecture means that it is now nigh on impossible for us to see present or past except through the lens of Carlyle’s heroic, male, great ‘leaders’. As a result, the notion of the ‘leader’, as a separate figure, and of ‘leadership’ as the characteristic of this figure, have become so fixed in our minds that it is almost impossible to read history or the present without seeing leaders and leadership everywhere. That said, as we have noted above in section 2, certain post-structural, process theory and feminist writers are alert to the problem of ‘common sense’ understandings with respect to the words leader and leadership, being at pains to problematise, deconstruct and generally denaturalise their usage. This is not merely a semantic exercise since, from a Wittgensteinian viewpoint, language is constitutive of forms or life and, arguably, the wider social order. By interrogating meaning-in-practice, emerging trends in leadership studies have been concerned to shift the discourse away from one dominated exclusively by the ‘masculine hero’ toward more relational, distributed, and gender-aware understandings. As we have tried to indicate in outline here, an understanding of the etymology and semantics of leadership-related concepts assists greatly in surfacing the problematic inheritance we have with regard to thinking about, studying and enacting leadership.
3. Philosophies of Leadership Past and Present
According to Collingwood (1994) any history of the past is a history of the present. Applied to the domain of leadership studies, this implies that our understanding of leadership in the past will inevitably be mediated by the present supporting conditions and purposes which our account is intended to address. In other words, the way we understand, for example, the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli or Montaigne that have a bearing on what we, in the contemporary west, currently designate as leadership must inescapably be coloured by our present time- and culture-specific use of that term. As Jepson (2009) has shown in her linguistic study of differences in meaning between leadership in the UK and Germany, language plays a crucial constitutive role in the creation of leadership phenomena. If there are marked differences to be found in the meaning of leadership between the comparatively closely related languages of English and German, how much more so must this be true of the meanings attributed to authors working in languages that are non Indo-European in origin, geographically remote, or separated from the present time by hundreds, if not thousands, or years. For most the ideas of ‘great thinkers’ or ‘great leaders’ are accessible only through acts of translation, which are historically and socio-politically situated. Nonetheless, in our efforts to understand current leadership and governance dilemmas we naturally turn to the past in a search for insight however faulty and inadequate the equipment we deploy to this end. It is not that we necessarily learn from the past but, rather, that we rediscover questions, problems and resolutions in the present that seem to have resonance with our contemporary reconstruction of the past.
Accordingly, one dimension of doing philosophy of leadership entails exploring and cataloguing a history of leadership ideas as understood from the present and from an inescapably ethnocentric standpoint. Some authors have attempted to interrogate history in this way with a greater or lesser degree of self-knowingness or reflexivity (compare, for example, Adair (1989) and Grint (2000) in this regard). While we cannot possibly offer a comprehensive account of leadership philosophy chronicled in historical writing we can, at least, suggest some parameters for this kind of project.
There exists a more or less mainstream study of leadership history which draws out philosophies from the past, most often in the form of examining and foregrounding the part played by heroic figures (usually men) at key historical moments; the actions of those who are considered to have embodied admirable leadership traits and talents. We have in mind studies of Xenophon, Achilles, King David (from pre-history), or, slightly closer to our own time, those of Wilberforce, Napoleon, Nelson, Scott, Shackleton, Churchill, Hitler, Stalin, Martin Luther King and the like. Often, though not always, these leadership histories are premised on a philosophy of heroic individualism which assumes high degrees of agency and self-determination, such that the actions of the subject can be construed to have decisive effects on the direction of wider socio-political affairs.
For the purposes of the argument pursued here we shall trace a particular line through history that focuses, not so much on the isolated instances of heroic leadership, as on the rise of instrumentality in relation to leadership philosophy. This is important since many recent developments in the field are, at root, a response to such instrumentality. Certain forms of argument, for example, promulgate a view of leadership philosophy that is essentially amoral and concerned only to highlight ‘responsibilities’ that accompany the pursuit of profit or material gain. In line with the (in)famous statement of Milton Friedman (1970) that ‘the only social responsibility of business is to make a profit’ it is not uncommon to find approaches to leadership that espouse a limited range of duties which serve this end exclusively. This is most clearly seen in the notion of homo economicus or ‘economic man’, which is characterised by rationality, self-interest, and the pursuit of wealth. According to Huehn (2008) poor organizational leadership and governance frequently has its roots in the ‘unenlightened economism’ of Hobbes’ seventeenth century political philosophy. From this perspective the social process of leadership is simplified to become little more than following a ‘quasimathematical model’ without the need to make ‘difficult value-judgements’ (2008, p.831). Such a philosophy of leadership engenders a practice that gives primacy to a narrow view of reason based upon ‘hard facts’ and the utilisation of quantitative techniques to provide measurements appropriate to support decision making.
Emerging in the same period as economism, utilitarian or consequentialist philosophy shares some similar characteristics. Approaches rooted in this tradition not only espouse the importance of ‘scientific’ and ‘value free’ attitudes to decision making, they also reduce ethics to a matter of quantitative calculation. Perhaps even more significant is the influence of utilitarianism in equating leadership with that influence which makes a useful contribution through coordinating the pursuit and attainment of a valued goal or vision. This has become the sine qua non of ‘good’ leadership in the modern era. As a consequence ‘progress’ and ‘growth’ are required of leaders even where there is clear evidence of the need for other strategies (consider, for example, the expectations of political and business leaders to continue strategies detrimental to the environment). When combined with economism leaders will operate under a broad guiding principle – the maximization of shareholder value – which from within the utilitarian matrix of reasoning remains unchallenged and unchallengeable. It is a simple case of the ends justifying the means or, in Weberian terms, the dominance of Zweckrationalität, formal rationality, over Wertrationalität, ‘substantitive’ or subjective value rationality (Weber 1970 ).
Whilst it can be argued that utilitarian attitudes are pervasive, or at least commonly observable, in leadership practice they do not appear to have developed to the level of what might be called a philosophy of leadership. If they did then there would be greater attention to problematising some of the taken-for-granted aspects of utilitarian economics. For example, it is not possible to focus only upon ‘hard facts’ in pursuit of a scientific, value free, evaluation: a value judgement is being made in giving primacy only to things that are amenable to measurement. To suggest that it is better for a leader to be freed from ‘difficult value judgements’ is a simplification that just does not bear close intellectual scrutiny.
An interesting contrast is with Enlightenment philosophy, which also came to prominence during the eighteenth century but places greater emphasis upon social responsibility, including the responsibility of each and every individual to think for himself or herself and to make appropriate moral judgements. As a precursor to utilitarian philosophy, the Age of Enlightenment prioritised reason but specifically as a source of authority and self-determination set against the authority of the state or religion. In itself this is an interesting aspect of a philosophy of leadership that we will not pursue in detail here. It is, however, important to mention by way of historical connection the emergence during this epoch of a decentralised constitution in the newly formed United States of America. This was a philosophy that changed the understanding of political leadership in a fundamental manner and resulted in new forms of practice and governance.
Of greater significance for our purposes is the emphasis upon ‘reason’ as the guiding authority within Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment philosophical movements. As the basis for a philosophy of leadership we do not challenge this idea, per se, but do raise some questions about the definition of reason that is being employed. For instance, Pieper (1999 ) draws our attention to a shift that occurred in the common understanding of reason following the Middle Ages and, consequently, in the development of Enlightenment science and utilitarian philosophy. He argues that,
The Middle Ages drew a distinction between the understanding as ratio and the understanding as intellectus. Ratio is the power of discursive, logical thought, of searching and of examination, of abstraction, of definition and drawing conclusions. Intellectus, on the other hand, is the name for the understanding in so far as it is the capacity of simplex intuitus, of that simple vision to which truth offers itself like a landscape to the eye. The faculty of mind, man’s knowledge, is both these things in one, according to antiquity and the Middle Ages, simultaneously ratio and intellectus; and the process of knowing is the action of the two together. The mode of discursive thought is accompanied and impregnated by an effortless awareness, the contemplative vision of the intellectus, which is not active but passive, or rather receptive, the activity of the soul in which it conceives that which it sees. (1999 , p.9).
Brient (2001) contends that this transition in the definition of reason is directly paralleled by an increased emphasis upon a work ethic. In other words, ‘what one does’, and the consequences of this, serves to define our sense of identity. As she argues,
In this transition human self-understanding gradually shifted from that of
the spectators and admirers of divine creation to that of (as Descartes put
it) ‘lords and masters of nature’. If knowledge of the world is gained
passively by contemplation in the Middle Ages – spelled out in terms of
either divine illumination or abstraction from sense perception – it is won
through active reconstruction in the modern age. (2001, p.20).
In further illustration, Brient suggests that following the Middle Ages, theoria1 changed in meaning from the contemplation of truth, which necessarily carried divine connotations, to become the modern scientific notion of hypothesis; something to be tested through empirical experimentation and applied for the betterment of humankind. This process of self-assertion, as humans are no longer at the mercy of the gods – or of any other authority figures - led to the emergence of an Enlightenment culture dominated by the work ethic and the pre-eminence of the utility of measurable activity.
Our purpose in offering a very brief genealogy of Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment emphasis on reason is twofold: (1) it enables us to understand the instrumental disposition of mainstream approaches to studying leadership that developed from the mid-twentieth century (discussed briefly in section 1, above); and, (2) we develop an argument below for doing leadership philosophy in a way that contrasts quite markedly with approaches that give exclusive emphasis to instrumental reason. In considering the development of what we would contend is a genuine philosophy of leadership based upon virtue ethics we recognise the requirement to return to contemplative and mystical as well as rational dimensions of knowing (Case & Gosling 2007).