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The End of Leadership by Barbara Kellerman

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Chapter 1

Historical Trajectory—lessening power

Leadership has a long history and a clear trajectory. More than anything else it is about the devolution of power—from those up top to those down below.

On High

In the beginning we had gods and goddesses. They were heroes, or hero-leaders, removed from ordinary people and quotidian concerns, to be venerated and emulated and fixated on—notwithstanding an Achilles’ heel or even fatal flaw. Some hero-leaders were imagined, for example, the Greek god Zeus, and his daughter Athena. Others were (or thought to be) real, men such as Abraham, Buddha, Jesus, and Mohammed.

Hero-leaders are part of our collective psyche—they serve a psychological purpose. Mythologist Joseph Campbell wrote, “Freud, Jung, and ...

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