March 2013

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Written by Elizabeth Eyre on 1 March 2013 in Magazine

Leadership is a quality that many perceive is lacking these days. In fact, it's becoming something of a cliché that bad and/or inadequate leadership has led us to our present situation - and is keeping us there - but, just when you wonder whether it's finally time to let it lie, another towering wave of unpleasant consequences comes crashing down on the shore of public opinion. Horse meat masquerading as beef is just the latest example (although at least it's been a good opportunity for bad equine puns - "slamming the stable door after the horse has been bolted" is my favourite of the past few weeks).

The negative consequences of bad behaviour by leaders in the workplace - which also has ramifications in the wider world, not least for an organisation's customers or service users - is the subject of an article by John Telfer (p44), who offers some practical advice on dealing with bosses who behave badly, to the detriment of their teams and the bottom line.

The idea that leaders need to be more ethical, compassionate, inclusive and wise in their day-to-day performance has gained a lot of traction since 2008 - I think we can safely say that the heroic leader has had his day and, while no one is advocating leadership by committee, leaders who can admit they don't know all the answers and who are willing to listen to others are stepping into his shoes. In her Viewpoint article on p8, Susan Grandfield calls for leaders to show more compassion in a work environment that is becoming increasingly harsh and unforgiving, while, on p18, Mike Clayton explains why he thinks today's leaders need to be wise, rather than just smart, setting out his seven pillars of wisdom. And, in a similar vein, the author of this month's cover article, Steve Turner, makes a strong case for leaders to be stewards - safeguarding ethics, standards and traditions in a way that makes organisations sustainable and recovers some of the respect and engagement they've lost in recent years.

In an article starting on p60, actor and trainer Sartaj Garewal turns to the silver screen and to some classic literature to find inspiration for successful leadership, while Jean Gomes examines the science behind unconscious bias (p39) and explains how leaders can stop it having a detrimental impact on their decisions and actions. In her article on p65, Dorothy Nesbit examines Joseph Campbell's "hero's journey" model and discusses how coaches and other L&D professionals can help leaders as they work towards achieving better leadership.

If numbers are your thing - and they are fast becoming everyone's thing - Stephen Archer (p55) questions whether organisations can measure the return on investment of their leadership development programmes - and outlines some ways of doing just that. And in her article beginning on p50, Elaine Wilson looks at the impact that leadership development can have on an organisation's culture.

Happy reading!

Elizabeth Eyre, Editor



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