March on Leadership

Organizational leadership is a contradiction in terms. The essence of organization is routine, conventional behavior, bound by the standards of knowledge, morality, and legality of the time, The essence of leadership, on the other hand, is escaping the routine, the standard, and the contemporary to implement a new morality, knowledge, and legality quite different from that seen by others. Leadership is pre-eminently anti-organizational. Leaders confront organizations rather than build or serve them. Thus, to speak of the CEOs of business firms, the presidents of labor unions, the directors of governmental agencies, and the commanders of conventional military units as leaders is absurd. They are not and could not be. Leadership will always come from outside organizations and will always be resisted by individuals who are conventional and reliable enough to be given formal positions of authority. There is no possibility of an organizational career for anyone with true leadership capabilities and instincts.

Jim March and Therry Weil (p38) [On Leadership](