Leadership & Dark Matter

Dark matter:

Leadership is, I think, the dark matter in the world of groups and organizations.
Let me note that I am neither an astronomer nor a cosmologist, but rely here on
Wikipedia where I learn that in astronomy and cosmology, dark matter is a type
of matter hypothesized to account for a large part of the total mass in the
universe. Its existence and properties are inferred, in part, from its
gravitational effects on visible matter. Like dark matter, leadership is
hypothesized to exist, although its existence can, for the most part, only be
inferred from actual observables.

Consider, for example, the
observations of Moorhead & Griffin (2004, p. 342) who posit that leadership
keeps the organization properly aligned with its environment, or those of
Williams (2005, p. 247) who suggests that leadership preserves and maintains
essential resources of the organization. Keeping our organizations properly
aligned with their environments along with preserving and maintaining
essential, organizational resources are definitely important and aught not be
left to chance. Given general agreement on this point, the challenge is to
specify the organizational “dark matter” that prevents these important elements
from being left to chance.

Bolman & Deal (2008, p. 343) make
what I think is a variation of the same “dark matter” point when they suggest
that leadership is not tangible, but rather exists only in relationships and in
the perception of the engaged parties. Leadership’s hypothetical reality not
withstanding, Owen (p. 132-133 and p. 164) proposes that leadership is not inert
but instead emerges from the passion and responsibility of those who care,
providing the critical focus and direction for the emergent organization. As we
see, leadership is analogous to the astronomer’s dark matter in that it
theoretically exists in and of itself but also exists as an energy capable of
causing or contributing to observable conditions, events, and circumstances. For example, Leadership,
among other outcomes, brings change and adaptability. (Feiner, 2004)