Twisted Leadership

How to Engage the Full Talents of Everyone in Your Organization

By Charles C. Manz and Craig L. Pearce

Twisted Leadership

Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-938548-86-4 / 160 pages / $21.95
ePub ISBN: 978-1-938548-87-1 / $16.99
Kindle ISBN: 978-1-938548-89-5 / $16.99
ePDF ISBN: 978-1-938548-88-8 / $16.99

• Introduces you to a powerful new way of thinking about leadership
• For anyone, in all size organizations, who wants to learn how to be a leader
• Offers steps to take to become adept at learning the four strategies of Twisted Leadership

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Discover a new way of thinking about leadership – learn how anyone, at any level of an organization, can be a leader.

Today’s business, political, and not-for-profit worlds are plagued by a leadership disease – the overly simplistic view of leadership as something that resides in one person, or a few people, who influence lower-level subordinates. This wrong-headed view of leadership is dangerous – it fosters corruption, abuse of power, and the waste of human talent. Twisted Leadership offers a cure for this leadership disease.

The book shows you that leadership is a dynamic, complex social process, not just a role occupied by an individual at the top. You’ll learn how to combine four practical strategies – self, super, shared, and socially responsible leadership – to create a new kind leadership that can be exchanged among members of a group based on the context, goals, knowledge, experience, or general needs of the group. It’s the ultimate cure for the leadership disease. Learn:

  • How the leadership disease was originally contracted what damage it can do
  • Why today’s common approaches to leadership practice aren’t good enough
  • How to view leadership as a process, not just a role
  • How to use the four strategies of twisted leadership to treat the disease

The book concludes with prescriptions to facilitate sustainable twisted leadership. You’ll discover how the lines between leaders and followers (who often know more and are in a better position to exercise leadership over themselves and others at key points in work processes) have become blurred. And after reading this book, you’ll see that a new kind of leadership has arrived, just in time.

About the Authors

Charles Manz

Charles C. Manz, Ph.D., is a speaker, consultant, and bestselling author of over 200 articles and scholarly papers and more than 20 books, including Self-Leadership; The New SuperLeadership; Share, Don’t Take the Lead; The Power of Failure; Fit to Lead; Business Without Bosses; The Leadership Wisdom of Jesus; Foreword Reviews magazine best-book-of-the-year Gold Award winner Emotional Discipline; and Stybel-Peabody National Book Prize-winner SuperLeadership. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, U.S. News & World Report, Success, Psychology Today, Fast Company, and other national media. He is the Nirenberg Chaired Professor of Leadership in the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Formerly a Marvin Bower Fellow at the Harvard Business School, his clients have included 3M, Ford, Xerox, General Motors, P&G, American Express, the Mayo Clinic, Banc One, the U.S. and Canadian governments, and many others.

Craig Pearce

Craig L. Pearce, Ph.D., is a speaker, consultant, and entrepreneur. He has published scores of articles and several books, including Share, Don’t Take the Lead; The Drucker Difference; and Shared Leadership. His work has garnered many awards, including the Penn State Alumni Fellow Award, and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times Agenda. He is the Ben May Distinguished Professor at the Mitchell College of Business, University of South Alabama. He has lectured at many leading universities, including Harvard, Duke, University of Amsterdam, Vienna University, Peking University, Instituto de Empresa. He was the founding Director of the Deloitte Leadership Institute in Istanbul and has consulted for numerous organizations, including American Express, the Central Intelligence Agency, Land Rover, Mack Trucks, Panda Express, and many others. He is both a leadership development expert and a leader, drawing from real-life leadership experience building entrepreneurial firms.

Table of Contents


Part One: The Leadership Disease and Its Cure – Twisted Leadership

1. What is the Leadership Disease?
2. The Historical Roots of the Leadership Disease
3. Manifestations of the Leadership Disease
4. Four Common Approaches to Leadership Practice
   – Directive Leader Behavior
   – Transactional Leader Behavior
   – Transformational Leader Behavior
   – Super (Empowering) Leader Behavior
5. Leadership as a Process, Not Just a Role

Part Two: Effective Medications for the Leadership Disease

6. Self-Leadership (S1)
7. SuperLeadership (S2)
8. Shared Leadership (S3)
9. Socially Responsible Leadership (S4)

Part Three: Pulling It All Together for Sustainable Twisted Leadership

10. Integrating the Four Ss of Twisted Leadership
11. Summary Prescriptions for Your Own Twisted Leadership

Resources Related to Twisted Leadership
About the Authors


CHAPTER 5: Leadership is a Process, Not Just a Role

There’s more to effective leadership, and to finding a cure for the all-to-widespread leadership disease, than simply becoming adept at using the common approaches to leadership – directive, transactional, transformational, and super (empowering) leader behaviors – to influence others. We have historically been taught that leadership is a role – that someone is the leader and the others are followers. But to achieve truly effective leadership, with and for everyone – that is, by using twisted leadership – we need to revise our understanding of leadership fairly substantially, and we need to view it as a dynamic, unfolding, complex social process.

We need to make a very important distinction here: A manager is not always a leader. A manager has a role as a supervisor of something: a project, function, people, or all of those things. He or she will have some degree of influence because of their role as a manager. However, a leader can appear from anywhere in an organization or community. Leaders develop influence because of who they are, and people follow them because they want to follow them. People can influence others because they have something that those others need and respect, such as expertise, experience, insight, creativity, or calm in the face of crisis.

This leadership perspective means that instead of just having to rely on one person to lead, any given group can exchange leadership dynamically, based on the context, project, goals, knowledge, experience, or general needs of the group. This then creates a power dynamic within a group that transcends a traditional hierarchy based on one person. Instead it builds on the sense of community that is innate in all societies. For the sake of simplicity, we call this perspective twisted leadership, which consists of the four strands of self-leadership, SuperLeadership, shared leadership, and socially responsible leadership. There have been instances of these strands of twisted leadership throughout history, but typically they’ve resulted by accident, organically, without conscious intent. Imagine the possible results you might see by intentionally harnessing the synergistic power of these four interconnected strands of leadership in your organization.

Today we know that twisted leadership can be built into organizations at their inception, or it can be inculcated over time if the organization is more mature. We know that if an organization or group decides to operate in a manner that encourages and enables, for example, shared leadership, it will become part of the DNA of that group. And the same goes for the three other strands of twisted leadership.

Praise for Twisted Leadership

“If you want to lead in this hyper-complex world, the only viable means is through collaboration. Authors Charles Manz and Craig Pearce reveal exactly what it will take on your part. Their arguments are compelling. Their examples are powerful. Their guidance is critical. They’ll open your eyes to fundamentally rethinking how you need to lead.”
Jay A. Conger, Henry R. Kravis Chaired Professor of Leadership Studies, Kravis Leadership Institute, Claremont McKenna College

“Charles Manz and Craig Pearce . . . elegantly describe four components of twisted leadership as complementary strands woven together in a rope: self-leadership, SuperLeadership, shared Leadership, and socially responsible leadership. The professors identify the destructive effects of ‘centralized, top-down, hierarchical leadership,’ labeling it ‘leadership disease,’ and propose the four strands referenced above as ‘effective medications.’ Competing with the authors of numerous other leadership books in a burgeoning category, Manz and Pearce are to be commended for putting a new twist on the subject.”
Barry Silverstein, Foreword Reviews