The Harvard Business Press recently published the Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice, edited by Harvard Business School Professors Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana.  The editors state that the purpose of the book is to fill the gap between the vast number of books and articles about leadership in the popular press and the lack of rigorous academic research about the subject.

The Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice brings together the most important scholars from fields as diverse as psychology, sociology, and economics to review what is currently known about leadership and to set an agenda for research in the future.

The handbook delves into many different aspects of leadership such as the development of it as a ‘discipline’, how individual leaders can be nurtured and developed and the key issues facing leaders in the modern world.  The editors hope that the result of their work will provide a catalyst for elevating the study of leadership to a higher and more rigorous intellectual level, and that it will inform and shape the agenda for leadership research n the future.

The Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice is a large volume (848 pages) of work, but it confirms what many of us know to be true.  Leadership is much more than simply ‘climbing the greasy pole’, or gaining positions of power and influence.  True leadership has much greater significance than that.  Leadership is fundamentally a professional and personal responsibility.   Whether it is providing leadership at home, in the community or in business, everyone has a responsibility to be the best leader they can be, and as such the insights provided in this book apply to anyone wishing to gain a greater understanding of leadership, whether they are a parent, teacher, senior executive, business owner, politician or researcher.