Is it really that complicated……

Like many experienced managers I could be easily persuaded that the topic of Leadership has become overly complicated in recent years resulting in a confusing array of theories and concepts that are both complimentary and contradictory as the context in which they are applied varies. If one were to take a simplistic view and adopt the principle that those doing the leading would be followed by those doing the following if the benefits of doing so outweighed those of pursuing an alternative course of action in the given circumstance, then the subject would become somewhat more straightforward. Of course, life is rarely that simple and more often than not, particularly in a business setting, it is the existence of a wide range of ‘stakeholders’ and a formal relationship between the various parties governed by both processes and structure that lead to the complexity that render good leadership practices difficult to apply.
In recent years I have had many conversations with Leadership practitioners from a wide range of organisational and cultural backgrounds, academics from various disciplines and also several Leadership coaches most of whom recognise the influence that these factors might play but have not evaluated the degree to which the performance of the leaders is influenced by such relationships. My practical experience is, however, that in most instances it is the existence of these factors which frustrate even the most capable leader. Of increasing concern is that with a greater propensity towards globalisation, organisations are increasing the influence that these factors portray by the adoption of standardised roles, processes and organisation structures to achieve uniform levels of performance across a wide range of markets. Paradoxically the adoption of these practices also impacts the level of motivation within the organisation and stifles the organisational creativity that is the lifeblood upon which the organisation depends for its future. So the question for most organisations then becomes how to manage the trade between these conflicting priorities.
It is this theme to which I will continually return in future blogs as I explore the latest thinking from both an academic and practical perspective embracing a wide range of organisational models to explore how we can develop leadership behaviours that are more suited to today’s requirements.

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4 thoughts on “Is it really that complicated……

  1. I suggest the main factor motivating people is accomplishment. If your team think they are getting somewhere, they will follow. The strength of their desire to follow will be a direct function of the (perceived) degree of accomplishment. It is not hard to see how, as organisations grow in stakeholders and scope, the ease of ensuring people that they are getting somewhere — and not just cogs in a machine — diminishes.

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