Imagine a prevalent phenomenon in the workplace: A leader has several direct reports, but only one or some of them are included in his or her inner circle to enjoy more opportunities for learning and growth. You may wonder: What chemistry has this group of followers generated in the daily interaction with the leader so that they are “chosen” […]
Much is being said right now about the phenomenon of change as an ongoing process: change is in fact, changing. In today’s dynamic disruptive world, we are in a constant state of flux. Better get used to it! Build the skills to become agile! But what if you must also pull off a singular large disruptive change, and one in […]
To those waiting with bated breath for the ‘U-turn’, I have only one thing to say: ‘You turn, if you want to. The lady’s not for turning.’
Margaret Thatcher, October 1980
When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, Sir? […]
In our first article in this series, we shared our views on how change helpers can best enable true movement in their client systems, rather than create lots of work and more busy action. We contended that the answer lies within the change practitioner, not the change theories or models or toolkits in their repertoire. In a sense, paying […]
“Truth loves its limits, for here it meets the beautiful”, Rabindranath Tagore
Too much wasted effort in change ends up in busy action — launching lots of initiatives that create more work and never seem to stick — or fail to crack the nut of changing behaviour. It all feels (very) heavy. To assuage this situation, research and development in the […]
Ninety years have elapsed since Mary Parker Follett (1927) applied the term ‘follower’. The amount of literature based on the notions of follower and followership has increased enormously over the years. In an American leadership journal I found 1105 articles published on followers and followership, and in a European journal 439.
In a newly published article, I have argued that […]
In a previous article, I defined change as “the disturbance of repeating patterns”. And it is nigh on impossible to do this skilfully unless you can see, acknowledge and deeply respect the purpose that our cultural patterns and taken-for-granted routines serve. This requires going to source. The problem is, not many of us are able to cleanly see the causal […]
After having published an article on servant leadership and another on transformational leadership I became aware that several researchers had examined these theories in order to determine similarities and differences between them. Their purpose was to understand these theories.
A theory can indeed be understood in the way in which it differs from other theories. All knowledge is conceptually mediated […]
Rupert Murdoch, Marissa Mayer, Jean Marie Messier. What do they have in common? All of them are famous CEOs of successful or unsuccessful business empires and all, at some point, were accused for their hubristic personalities. The ‘hubris syndrome’ is a psychological state affecting leaders in positions of authority and power. It is characterised by an exaggerated self-belief, sense […]
Leadership ethics are a sacred phenomenon. We are here to preach heresy. But not too much! For who would listen? Our argument in a recent paper is that there is a romanticism that underlies established leadership ethics that is as destructive as it is seductive, as responsible for unnecessary dissonance as it is for building resonance.
A degree of utopianism […]
Here’s the big issue – most organisations/teams/individuals only embark on innovation if they can travel in ways that reinforce existing routines. We seek new results through habitual methods. I call this conundrum the difference between ‘action’ – busily launching lots of innovation initiatives yet not fundamentally shifting underlying mindsets and ways of operating, and ‘movement’ – rewiring the very […]
Given the appreciative response to my article on why we need a radical change in how we develop leaders, I wish to expand on its most quoted message: that leadership development in today’s dynamic landscape requires that faculty acts less as experts, and more as Sherpas.
The reason I contend this is that the leadership skills required to navigate today’s […]
Leadership has been a scientific discipline for more than one hundred years. The magnitude of research has increased tremendously. Many different objects of study related to leadership have been investigated with the ambition to solve a variety of problems that appear to be more or less relevant for those in leadership positions.
In this blog post, I present my own […]
If the purpose of research is to solve problems, then the question emerges of what the problem is and who has the problem. The purpose of medical research, for instance, is to provide those who practice medicine with knowledge that enables them to cure diseases, to relieve pain, and to enhance individuals’ health. Medical research thus benefits patients.
I believe […]
Some people contend that authentic leadership is more ethical and compelling. Authenticity depends on aligning what you do and say on the outside with who you are on the inside. They recommend looking inward to find your true self and core beliefs. Experts offer to help leaders bring to the surface what they find deep down.
Oddly, three celebrated philosophers […]
What is the electoral appeal in political candidates as different as Corbyn, Trump and Macron? Political commentary indicates that it is because they are “real”, true to themselves, and in that way, unlike the “typical” politician.
This commentary finds support in the academic literature on authentic leadership, where it is argued that the leaders who inspire confidence, optimism and trust […]
The disappearance of the iron curtain in the early 1990s led many social and political analysts to believe that liberal democracy had prevailed as the “winning” political system of humankind. At the same time, egalitarianism, positivity, and humanism (along with mainstream Western ethics) came to dominate the textbook versions of organisational life and leadership. At the very least, it […]
When we need to create change, the evidence shows that money and fear are poor motivators. Finding a common inspiration is an alternative that works. Leaders have the privilege and responsibility of generating alignment to a common purpose.
This is acutely true when there is a crisis or urgency to change the performance of a business. Arriving in these situations, […]