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Bitesize No. 20 – Leadership for What?


In Bitesize 19 we looked at the relentless growth in the popularity of coaching. This is probably only matched, in terms of growing interest, by the multitude of leadership programmes on which organisations seem determined to spend huge sums of money.

Usually they prove to be a classic case of hope triumphing over experience. There is no commonly accepted definition of what constitutes leadership, the debate about the relative influences of nature versus nurture has never been satisfactorily resolved and if you ask any leadership ‘expert’ to produce an example of the leaders they have developed usually they are nowhere to be found.

Yet we all know that effective and inspirational leaders are worth their weight in gold so the search is perpetuated. So maybe business partners have to resort again to the sort of fresh paradigm introduced in Bitesize 19.

The real need for better leadership can be seen in mediocre results, complacency with average performance and a resistance to change and innovation. In other words, it is relatively simple to articulate the need for leadership in terms of what impact we expect it to have. So business partners should not support ‘leadership programmes’, per se, regardless of what management schools tell us.

Organisations only need leaders because they constantly face the challenge of trying to get better and better results. Attempts to develop leadership might be part of the solution but they cannot exist in a vacuum. People who believe they might be candidates for such programmes should be asked to articulate what this might mean to the way they and the organisation might perform. Business partners can play a key role in helping them to make the connections.

Paul is happy to take questions and comments and can be contacted at:mailto:[email protected]

Earlier articles in this series can be found at:
The Bitesize Business Partners Page


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