Leadership Book

Leadership and Liberation: A Psychological Approach

London: Routledge, 2006

Reissued in paperback, 2012

This exciting book draws on many years of experience in the areas of leadership and liberation. It puts forward a simple but hugely effective model of the leadership process.

  • What is the role of a leader?

  • How do leaders influence the people around them?

  • Is leadership about having particular personal qualities or is it more about what leaders actually do?
  • Why do leaders get attacked?
  • How can they be a positive force for transformation and liberation?
  • What roles do the processes of oppression, internalised oppression and liberation play in leadership?
  • What practical skills do leaders need in order to be effective?

These are some of the questions explored in this unique approach to leadership. The book presents a model of leadership that has many practical implications for those who occupy formal leadership roles or those who seek to influence events informally.

This model sees leadership as a collaborative process rather than a hierarchical or authoritarian one. From this point of view everyone is a potential leader and one of the things that make someone an effective leader is their ability to develop the leadership potential of those around them.

By looking at leadership in the context of liberation, it gives readers a very powerful perspective that enables them to think about what they are trying to achieve and about their own effectiveness as leaders.

Whereas many people view leaders with suspicion or cynicism, true leaders, as described here, are focused on liberating people. This means they have to understand the struggles that people have and, in particular, how they face mistreatment and oppression within their lives.

Having a focus on liberation means that leaders must understand and be able to tackle issues such as racism, sexism, classism and the myriad of other ways that people experience oppression.

No leader can hope to be fully effective if they do not understand the ways in which oppression takes a toll on people and also if they do not have a clear vision of a world where people are treated with complete respect regardless of their social identity.

As well as providing a workable model of how leadership operates, the book also looks at practical skills required by leaders that assist them in becoming agents of change and influence and in dealing with the inevitable conflicts that arise in complex interpersonal situations. The lessons to be learned are applicable to leaders in all types of groups and organisations.

Table of Contents

Part One: The Content of Leadership

  1. Core Functions of Leaders
  2. Other Key Functions of Leaders
  3. Leadership, Authority and Collaboration
  4. Leadership: Character or Competence?
  5. Destructive Reactions to Leaders: The Isolation-Attack Dynamic
  6. Handling Attacks on Leaders

Part Two: The Leadership Context

  1. Oppression and Leadership
  2. Internalised Oppression
  3. Theories of Internalised Oppression
  4. A Psychology of the Middle Class
  5. Identity and the Process of Liberation

Part Three: Strategies and Skills

  1. Change and Influence Strategies
  2. Conflict Resolution Skills
  3. Problem-Solving Skills