Rethinking Leadership
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Rethinking Leadership

A New Look at Old Questions, Second Edition

Donna Ladkin

This thoroughly revised and extended second edition of Rethinking Leadership offers an entirely new approach to understanding leadership as a lived experience rather than a checklist of traits or behaviors. Alongside selected expert contributors, Donna Ladkin makes complex ideas accessible by illustrating them with practical examples drawn from a broad experience of both academic leadership and management across a range of commercial, political and not-for-profit organizations.
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Chapter 4: What goes on in the relationship between leaders and followers?

Donna Ladkin


Contemporary scholarship concerning ‘relational leadership’ begins to point to the space between leaders and followers as crucial to making leadership happen. Phenomenology, and particularly the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty moves this thinking forward by introducing a number of key concepts, including ‘reversibility’ and ‘flesh’. Reversibility is the idea that a large part of knowing ourselves is predicated on how we understand ourselves to be perceived by others. ‘Flesh’ is Merleau Ponty’s way of conceptualizing the inter-subjective space through which perception and reversibility occur. This chapter applies these concepts to leadership, showing the often unstable and fluid nature of relations between those who take up leader and follower roles.

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