The “Heart, Head and Hands” of Transforming Leadership

John Nicholls (Principal of John Nicholls Associates, a management consultancy where he may be contacted on 0832 733753.)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Publication date: 1 September 1994


Leadership is a Humpty Dumpty word which people use in widely different ways. Argues that, on examination, there appear to be three main ways in which managers may exercise leadership. Two of them are specific to the manager′s nominal position. Strategic leadership, of the head, is concerned with path‐finding and culture‐building to create an effective organization. Supervisory leadership, of the hands, is concerned with adapting one′s style to the given situation in order to achieve efficient performance. The third type of leadership is more general. Inspiring leadership, of the heart, engages with people, giving them an energizing vision. All managers must exercise strategic and supervisory leadership of the head and hands – otherwise they are mere administrators. Good managers go further and inspire people with the heart – rendering their leadership transforming.



Nicholls, J. (1994), "The “Heart, Head and Hands” of Transforming Leadership", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 15 No. 6, pp. 8-15.

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Copyright © 1994, MCB UP Limited

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