"What is your mental image of a leader? How many visualized a US President or military leader? How many pictured a man?" Thus, Charles Manz, SOM's spring Nirenberg lecturer and the School's Charles and Janet Nirenberg professor in Business Leadership waxed Socratic in his first contact with a large SOM audience. Manz will join the School of Management full-time in September. He is currently on the faculty of the College of Business at Arizona State University in Tempe. Without question, many of the 250 students, faculty members and friends of the School in attendance left with new, perhaps seismic insights into leadership and its role in the workplace. Manz's strategy was to present a typology of leadership styles, culminating in his own cause celebre, "superleadership."
A film clip of John Wayne as an imperious World War II army sergeant illustrated Manz' first leadership category, the strongman, a martinet who issues inflexible, fear-based edicts and commands. "That style is entirely appropriate in a battle setting or a burning building; just don't try it in the workplace," he quipped. Next, he turned to the transactor, whose power is based solely on the ability to reward followers. "As a leader, you get what you pay for and nothing more," he observed. In another film clip, an army officer's inspirational panegyric in the movie, Gettysburg, illustrated category #3, the visionary hero, a charismatic persuader, who, according to Manz, spellbinds followers to behave like "enthusiastic sheep."

Not so the superleader, advocated by Manz and coauthor, Henry Sims, Jr, in their best-selling books, Company of Heroes, Business without Bosses, and SuperLeadership. Superleadership blossoms in a populist setting, where followers share power (often in teams) as self-leaders. "Sometimes," Manz told his audience, "the best thing we can do is to get out of the way and let people do their jobs." Give self-leaders a sense of commitment based on "ownership" in the workplace and they're on the path to superleadership.

How to promote self-leaders? "Through a culture that fosters selfset goals, positive thought patterns, self-leadership teams, appropriate rewards, and constructive, critical feedback," insisted Manz. "Self-directed leadership," he continued, "can unleash tremendous creative energy." Witness the 3M employee, who thusly empowered, leveraged the failure of an unsticky glue into a marketleading success, Post-it Notes. Manz left his audience with a final inspiration, this time from the Taoist philosopher, Lao Tzu: "A good leader talks little. When his work is done they will say, we did it ourselves."