Real Leadership
How Spiritual Values Give Leadership Meaning
by Gilbert W. Fairholm
January 2011, 240pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-39331-0
$49, £37, 41€, A70
eBook Available: 978-0-313-39332-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

What is the basis of values-based—or spiritual—leadership? Contrary to what you might imagine, it’s not tied to religion. And while it endorses ethical conduct, it is not about ethics either. It is about doing real leadership by recognizing workers’ spiritual values and needs, and harnessing these powerful motivators for the good of the group.

This text explains why values-based spiritual leadership that coalesces employees into a harmonious group is the only way to successfully manage increasingly diverse workers in the 21st century.

A person’s values are the most powerful factor defining his or her actions; everyone has a value system or a spiritual component that triggers their behavior. Our personal values are a more powerful force upon individual action than corporate policy, procedures, tradition or peer pressure. Since the work environment is where the typical worker will spend the most time—more than at home with family, with friends, or at church—it is reasonable that workers will have spiritual demands as well as economic needs from their work lives. Unfortunately, this is a task managers are not prepared to meet.

Real Leadership: How Spiritual Values Give Leadership Meaning argues that values-based—i.e., spiritual—leadership is the only way to do leadership in today’s globalized, multi-differentiated world. The author traces the development of real leadership through five generations of theory, then builds a strong case for the values leadership strategy because of its ability to unify workers… and because it allows them to find personal meaning in the workplace task at hand.


  • Includes 9 arguments and over 40 key facts supporting values leadership as the only valid leadership theory
  • Harnesses the knowledge of over 200 contributing experts
  • Presents the novel ideas of many analysts, including recent doctoral work exploring specific aspects of spirituality, values, and leadership
  • Traces over 100 years of leadership research in a chronological fashion
  • Provides an extensive bibliography and index
Gilbert W. Fairholm is emeritus professor of management at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA. His published works include Praeger's Perspectives on Leadership: From the Science of Management to its Spiritual Heart; Organizational Power Politics: Tactics in Organizational Leadership; and Techniques of Inner Leadership: Making Inner Leadership Work.
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