Meaning and Concept of Peace Leadership

Meaning and Concept of Peace Leadership

Erich P. Schellhammer
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4993-2.ch002
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The last 30 years witnessed a major development of leadership theory. There is now a wide variety of leadership styles available for leaders that are distinct from the previous paradigm of authoritarian leadership. The chapter intends to present the most popular leadership orientations and analyzes their capabilities for a culture of peace. Thus, conscious leadership modelled after Ubuntu leadership, authentic leadership, transformational leadership, servant leadership, charismatic leadership among others are analyzed to identify peace leadership components. This analysis will at least reveal two peace leadership principles. One is a vision of the leader that corresponds to the vision of a culture of peace as it has been developed by the United Nations. The other is a set of core values a peace leader needs to be effective in influencing followers to actualize a culture of peace. The chapter concludes by briefly describing the tool box of a leader to stay on course such as the practice of mindfulness and awareness of neuroplasticity.
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Peace Leadership: Combining Two Interconnected Concepts

The concept of peace leadership is a relatively new phenomenon. It is a multi-disciplinary or probably trans-disciplinary effort that draws from peace and conflict studies, criminology, criminal justice, political science, international relations and leadership studies and other academic disciplines. It also enriches these classical homes for studies of peace and leadership. The concept peace leadership was identified as a new leadership field during the Annual Conference of the International Leadership Association in Prague in 2009. The initiative came from and is still strongly supported among many others by Jean Lipman-Blumen (author of Connective Leadership. Managing in a Changing World). The historical context of the conference location contributed to the need to develop a separate leadership discourse on peace and is worthwhile to reflect on.

The Czech Republic has experienced many conflicts since its inception after World War I (it then was together with Slovakia forming Czechoslovakia). Outside of the conference location, an exhibition in Prague commemorated deportations and camps during World War II. There were also strong reminders of the Prague Spring of 1968 and it being crushed by force. Vaclav Havel gave the keynote address and explained the Velvet Revolution, a novel and successful peaceful political transformation that stands in stark contrast to previous political conflict resolutions that hampered the richness of the country based on its previously existing multiculturalism. Many conference participants quickly regarded Vaclav Havel as a peace leader and noted that such a leadership orientation hasn’t been identified by the leadership community. It was also noted that there cannot be peace without leadership and that leadership is not possible without peace.

Soon afterwards, a development started within the International Leadership Association towards establishing a separate community specifically addressing peace leadership. This got formalized through a Peace Leadership Affinity Group (PLAG) that allowed members to engage in and network in the field of peace leadership. The Annual Conferences consequently invited presentations and events on peace leadership within the Member Interest Group of Public Leadership. PLAG generated many discussions, collaborations, proposals for journals and books as well as published works. There are now a number of publications available that frame peace leadership as an academic discourse.

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