The University of Western Australia
‘Leadership’ has become one of the most used and little defined buzzwords of our time. This article explores what one might think of as the sceptical position against accounts of leadership through the lens of ‘fear and loathing’. It explores what we are and should be concerned about regarding notions of leadership in contemporary culture and discourse.This article begins with an account of why we should be interested in the concept of leadership and the roles it plays in our culture. It then examines what we might call the case against leadership, that is, the range of concerns and fears we have about what is presented as ‘leadership’ as well as the legitimate fears that leadership theory can mask. These are some of the difficulties any successful theory of leadership must avoid. The article then outlines a proposed solution that captures essential aspects of what we want from the concept of leadership (and from leaders). Finally, it outlines and addresses a potential problem that this theory of leadership faces.