Exceptional Leadership

Lessons from the Founding Leaders

By (author) Gilbert W. Fairholm

Hardback - £84.00

Publication date:

20 June 2013

Length of book:

334 pages


Lexington Books

ISBN-13: 9780739184141

This book is about values and principles that have formed the backbone of the exceptionality of America. These values and principles have shaped the way leadership in America has evolved and prescribed the way leaders have practiced their craft. It is about what both leaders and their followers implicitly know about what a good leader is and does and about why they follow one leader and not another. The book is about how leaders in all facets of society think—or should think—about their interrelationships with other human beings. For relationships is the essence of leadership. We can only lead those in some kind of association with us as. Only together can we do whatever task the leader of our particular organization asks of us today and every day of our lives. This is true not just at work, but in the family, our collective social and recreational pursuits, and even when alone doing something we want to get done. Because all we do ultimately will impact our attitudes and actions or those of others. For that finally is what leadership is—impact on another!

This book identifies the values and principles of leadership the founding leaders identified and used and that have marked American culture for over two centuries in all dimensions of life. It defines and delimits the actions and attitudes of mind of the exceptional leaders who first articulated and then led in terms of those values as they made America. The ideas about exceptional leadership discussed are taken from their own leadership example and from their thoughtful conclusions. The ideas are fully American. These first leaders drew up the blueprint for what America is and has become. Their creation has survived countless challenges over the two hundred years of its creation to become the United States of America.
A great deal has been written on the topic of American exceptionalism in recent years, yet Fairholm (emer., Virginia Commonwealth Univ.) carves out a distinctive study of what is exceptional about American leadership. Rather than offer a formal study of mechanics and techniques, Fairholm focuses instead on the values and principles of American leadership and how those things have contributed to the evolution of leadership across American history. What makes American leadership exceptional, according to Fairholm, is how the American founders built leadership principles around the values of human interaction, values that include natural rights, liberty for all, and individual independence. These principles are then reinforced by an American culture that is steeped in values, though Fairholm cautions that America has reached a crossroads regarding its principled commitments. The book's greatest strength and weakness is its extensive inclusion of primary source documents to illustrate the leadership values and principles of the past. The documents bring to life the arguments that Fairholm makes throughout the book. . . . Summing Up: Recommended. General readers and undergraduate students.