Peter Block on stewardship and leadership

Peter Block

Ray: Let’s get into the work. What is stewardship? How does it differ from leadership, or at least from traditional notions of leadership?

Peter: Leadership is about creating a place for accountability by centralizing power. Leadership is about making a center or a top — the owner of a business, for example, who is the hub of the wheel.

Leadership culture is a patriarchal culture. The leader creates the vision. The leader decides how an organization is going to operate and basically tries to get people to support that end.

Leadership can be done very compassionately, but it still has to control, at least in its mind.

Stewardship is trying to create accountability in the world through the dispersion of power.

Distributing power means giving people on the edge as much choice as possible about how to serve a customer and how to serve a business.

*Learn more about Peter Block and his work on organizations, community, and civic engagement at, and read more of my interviews at This interview was conducted for New Age Retailer magazine.

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