In those developing world nations where positive human agency has led to good governance and a democratic political culture, institutions have grown and now rein in and check leaders, as in such places as Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mauritius, Singapore, South Africa, and Taiwan. Indeed, the tide of accomplishment has recently turned. Much of Africa and the Middle East now also insist on being as well led as the world’s best. There is a pent-up demand, especially in North Africa and the poorer parts of sub-Saharan Africa, for what the citizens of especially Botswana, Mauritius, and Singapore have achieved and for what they have gained materially over decades because of responsible, committed leadership.
My new book, Transformative Political Leadership: Making a Difference in the Developing World (University of Chicago Press, 2012), argues that human agency matters as much as structure and contingency in delivering good governance, prosperity, and peace to people everywhere, but particularly to the citizens of the developing world. There institutions are weak, nations are largely not as yet fully formed, and the manner in which leaders lead makes a significant difference in determining human outcomes.
Transformative leaders are persons with effective and practical visions who maintain their legitimacy by behaving with integrity, consulting genuinely, displaying intellectual honesty and a sense of self-mastery, building trust, and giving their citizens a sense of belonging to a worthy national enterprise. Usually these transformative leaders possess large amounts of emotional as well as analytical intelligence. They also act courageously.
In addition to opening chapters discussing this new theory of transformative leadership, the volume includes longer case studies of the demonstrated leadership abilities of Nelson Mandela, Seretse Khama, Lee Kuan Yew, Kemal Ataturk, and shorter studies of such important contemporary figures as Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Susilio Bambang Yudhoyono, and Paul Kagame. Malign leaders, such as Robert Mugabe, are also discussed.
In pre-publication endorsements, Warren Bennis says that Transformative Political Leadership “throws a unique and brilliant light on the complexities of leading during crisis and change.” He calls the case studies “eloquently written.” Rosabeth Moss Kanter calls the book “deeply insightful,” “offering important lessons that will resonate far beyond the developing world.” Joseph S. Nye says that the book shows why transformational leaders “make such an important difference in political cultures that lack strong national institutions.”
Transformative Political Leadership is available at your local bookstore (if you have one), from the University of Chicago Press, or from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.
Comments on the book will gratefully be received.