Conceptual issues in leadership development

Steve Miller


Revised version of an article first appearing in

Journal of Jewish Educational Research, Volume 6, January 2000


In its recognition of organisational leadership as an essential pre-requisite for future effectiveness, and even survival, the Jewish community is reflecting a perception that is common across all sectors of society.  The Jewish community expresses this perspective through:

·                    an awareness that Jewish voluntary organisations are going through a period of considerable pressure as a result of internal and external changes in the environment,

·                    an awareness that 'leadership' is a much discussed and much sought after characteristic in the Jewish voluntary sector,

·                    an awareness of the limitations of current provision for leadership development in the Jewish voluntary sector.


In this article the author explores a familiar paradox. We are apparently able to describe aspects of leadership - sometimes at great length and very convincingly.  But we seem unable to find ways to apply this knowledge in formal educational programmes in ways that make a measurable difference.  Moving beyond ‘scientific’ explanations of leadership to a deeper understanding through narrative and the interpretation of lived experience offers a new approach to leadership development.