Rushmorean Leadership?

What is Rushmorean Leadership? O'Toole referred to this several times, but all I could find out was that it is values-based. It's referenced in Christian leadership, so I assume it is related to servant leadership. Does anyone know?


I found a few definitions of Rushmorean leadership: Encouraged dissenting opinion; Granted ample authority to subordinates; Led by example--rather than by power. Mainly, it seems to suggest moral or value-based leadership and also giving "suboardinates" more responsibility. I like that idea because it allows people to work more as a team and take ownership for their projects. I had a manager in the past who would assign me projects but then take them over to do them her way. She was pleased with the quality of my work, but wanted it to be formatted/positioned in her preferred style. It got to be disheartening because I felt like I didn't have any ownership of my projects. I also felt like no matter how much I put into something, it would never be good enough. Feeling like that day after day at work really drags you down, especially when you tend to be a high achiever. Before long, I knew it was time to get out and luckily I was able to do so. Now I can at least chalk it up to a valuable learning experience about management.
Christ-Based Leadership
by David Stark
(Excerpted from book of the same title)

By contrast, Rushmorean leaders have remarkably different assumptions about the world and people. "Rushmorean" refers to the character and values of people like Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. They possess authenticity, integrity, vision, passion, conviction, and courage, and they lead by example rather than coercion. Rushmorean leadership is moral leadership, and its axioms would read:

People are by nature a mixture of potential for great good or great harm, and they thrive in an environment of trust with accountability.

Human groups tend toward self-ordering states, given the right parameters and resources.

Progress comes from vision and values given as parameters, where self-discipline, creativity, and passion are allowed to stretch people forward.

Order arises from common commitments to mission and common understandings of values.

There are many types of leadership and leaders within an organization.

Different leadership energies are needed at different times to keep an organization moving to its prime.

Leadership is an exercise of stewardship, where everyone shoulders the trust given to the organization.

Weakness and vulnerability on teams create an atmosphere of trust, where members feel needed for their strengths as well as needing others for the areas where they do not have strengths.

In this approach, everyone involved buys into any change effort as members together craft a common vision out of various agendas. In this way they capture the best future for the organization and take advantage of the stakeholders' diverse gifts and passions. As Toffler puts it:

No leader can command or compel change. Change comes about when followers themselves desire it and seek it. Hence the role of the leader is to enlist the participation of others as leaders of the effort. That is the sum and essence not only of leading change but also of good management in general. In reality, such leadership is extremely difficult because it is unnatural.

Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs