Comprehensive and highly practical, Introducing Leadership introduces the principles and practice of leadership, from theory through to the development of the reader’s own leadership ability. From the analysis of the different sources of leadership and management theory emerges a model that will provide the basis for the development of readers’ own leadership skills and for the application of these through the rest of the book.
Written by an experienced author in the field of management development, the book is split into three parts:
Section one – the nature and role of leadership
Section two – leading others
Section three – leading innovation and change
The learning development is clearly structured and this text also provides the underpinning knowledge requirements for Level 3 qualifications in leadership.
Section 1: Being a leader (The nature and role of leadership)
This section looks at the principles and practice of leadership, from theory through to the development of the reader’s own leadership ability. There will be a lot of reference to different sources of leadership and management theory, with the key features of the different models examined and compared. From this will emerge a sort of consensus model that will provide the basis for the development of readers’ own leadership skills and for the application of these through the rest of the book.
1. Leadership and management
This chapter acts as the overall introduction to the book, by examining the nature of leadership and contrasting it with management, identifying the main themes that different models have in common, to arrive at a pair of working definitions that present management and leadership as overlapping. I will argue that effective managers are also leaders, and that effective leaders are also managers, that both are different but complementary dimensions of the same phenomenon, using Lawrence Appley’s definition of managers as ‘people who get things done through people’.
This overview will also present some of the key theoretical perspectives on management (from people like Kotter, Bass, Adair, Greenleaf, etc) and try to identify their common features to arrive at a ‘unified’ model of leadership. There will be a particular emphasis on the role of leadership at first line (and middle?) management level, looking at how the role of leaders varies at different levels within the hierarchy, reflecting their closeness to the people being led and their ability to shape the broad vision and strategy of the organisation.
2. Morality, ethics and integrity
This chapter is designed to emphasis that leadership is closely linked to ideas about morality and integrity. It will explore what we mean by these and the extent to which organisations can have a moral purpose, especially in the private sector. It will be a useful opportunity to compare and contrast the three sectors (private, public and voluntary) in terms of their purpose and the effect this has on their vision and the behaviour of their leaders. It will also examine the role and purpose of corporate social responsibility, and link into issues like environmentalism and health and safety.
3. The skills of leadership
This chapter will follow on from the first by focussing in on the specific skills, abilities and attributes that leaders need – I will distinguish between these different concepts but use ‘leadership skills’ as an all-embracing term. There will clearly be a focus on communication, with far more detail than is in Introducing Management, and also a consideration of self-management skills (time management, goal-setting, self-awareness) and issues like honesty, integrity and trustworthiness, addressed within the context of emotional intelligence.
4. Developing yourself as a leader
This third chapter follows on from the second by looking at how readers can develop these skills and make the best use of their abilities and attributes. The aim is to get people to take personal responsibility for their own development and follow the advice given by Professor Gerry Randall about the need to ‘devote at least as much time to developing leadership skills as developing your gold swing’.
Although the book isn’t a self-help guide, this chapter will contain a fair amount of guidance, including suggestions for identifying personal strengths and weaknesses, etc. It will include directions to websites because there are lots of diagnostic tools available on the web.
Section 2: Leading others
This section looks at the application of the skills of leadership within the day-to-day work of organisations at the FLM/middle manager level.
5. Organisations, structures and roles
This chapter will draw on the work of Charles Handy and Rosabeth Moss Kanter to consider how organisation structures, roles and culture shape individual and group behaviour. It will also introduce some basic systems theory to consider how systems affect people, with a short outline of Peter Senge’s arguments in The Fifth Discipline. The point of all this is to emphasis to what extent leader (especially at the FLM/middle management level) are ‘prisoners’ of the organisation and need to understand it to work with (or subvert?) it to achieve the vision.
6. Individuals, groups and teams
This chapter will look at organisations from the ground up, as a group of individuals all having different abilities, aspirations and personalities. It will emphasise that leadership at this level is primarily about leading individuals and workgroups, but that the workgroup is the sum of the individuals within it. It will also look at teams and distinguish them from workgroup. I am going to be very strict on the distinction and urge readers to recognise that ‘team’ is not another name for ‘group’ but is a group with very distinctive characteristics that leaders should work towards creating. I will argue that effective leadership is a necessary condition for effective teams and team working.
7. Getting the best out of people
This chapter will be all about individuals as well, looking at them in more detail in terms of performance, motivation and goals. The emphasis will be on the leader’s responsibility to identify what it is that drives each person and what can be done to encourage people to achieve their full potential. The focus will be on performance management as a leadership task rather than as a management task – in other words, I shall be deeply critical of conventional performance management, appraisal and similar strategies as over-formalised and bureaucratic procedures that have no proven value. Instead, I shall argue that effective leaders are able to address individuals in ways that recognise their individuality, and use organisational policies and strategies to develop their skills and improve their performance.
This chapter will also look at the issue of diversity in all its various forms and argue that the best organisation welcome diversity as a way of encouraging a variety of different points of view and experiences to inform the organisation. However, I will also emphasise that this is a two-way street, and that tolerance doesn’t mean that people can reject the values and goals of the organisation. Everyone in the organisation needs to be prepared to sign up to the organisation’s vision, and whilst that should embrace diversity it doesn’t allow opt-outs to those bits an individual may not like.
8. Handling conflict
Conflict happens in the best run and healthiest organisations. In fact, conflict is one sign of health as long as it is constructive and used to build the organisation. However, conflict between individuals that arises because of personal differences, prejudices and feuds is unhealthy and destructive. Effective leaders can distinguish between the two and use differences of view to encourage creativity and develop new approaches to work.
On the other hand, leaders must also be able to address unhealthy conflict, the conflict that destroys teams and individuals. This is where the characteristics of effective leaders come into play – honesty, integrity, strength of will - as leaders have to be able to face up to situations that others will avoid. The chapter will also return to the issue of diversity and tolerance, and emphasise that the leaders’ role in addressing conflict needs to be seen in the context of legal obligations on the employer coupled with the rights of individuals to due process. (This is a good example of the inter-relationship of the leadership and management roles inter-linking.)
9. Responding to crises
This chapter will use critical incidents as the opportunity to apply both management and leadership principles to the full. It will argue that good practice in day-to-day operation becomes best practice in crises – that crises don’t need different types of management and leadership but the best kind. The aim is to look at the range of possible crises that may occur and emphasise the importance of preparation and planning for the worst as the best way to deal with crises when they occur.
Section 3: Leading innovation and change
This section is designed to link together some key ideas about quality, continuous improvement, change and project management, and innovation, showing how leadership skills lie at the heart of them all, and that they are closely linked. In particular, quality and innovation will be the over-arching themes, and the need for continuous improvement and periodic step-change as the mediums through which both are expressed.
10. Leading quality improvement and striving for excellence
This chapter will start with a brief history of the development of quality management and its continuing role in enabling organisations to survive and prosper, in the private, public and voluntary sectors. Continuous improvement/kaizen will be presented as a whole organisation strategy to which effective leaders at the FLM/middle management level are firmly committed and to which they devote most of their attention. The significance of monitoring and feedback as the necessary condition for improvement will be coupled with the drive to achieve at the highest level (excellence). This in turn links back into the vision and its role in providing the framework within which this drive to excel needs to be set.
11.Leading creativity and innovation
Creativity and innovation will be presented as related concepts – creativity as the idea, innovation as its application. The chapter will argue that we are all capable of creativity, given the right opportunity and motivation, and that the role of the leader I to provide these. Creativity is the basis for continuous improvement, since the best improvements are those that take a novel look at an old problem.
However, creativity can only be implemented to produce innovative products, services and systems if the organisation is able to accept creative ideas. The role of leaders is to shape organisational structures and culture in such a way that it can accommodate the new and the different. This is related to skills such as risk assessment, decision making and information management, and there will be emphasis on the need to develop these, alongside the ability to inspire and motivate others.
12. Understanding the pressures for change
This chapter will look at the reason why innovation is so critical for organisational survival, by reviewing the pressures that bring about change, using conventional tools (such as SWOT and PESTLE) but focusing particularly on the rate of change caused by the speed of technological innovation and its global diffusion through modern communications and transportation. I will refer particularly to some of the ideas in Diane Coyle’s book The Weightless World to show how the global economy has changed so significantly and the implications this has for modern organisations and their leaders.
13. Leading change
This chapter will look at the practical steps involved in leading change, using formal techniques (such as Gantt charts and network planning) to underpin the leadership role, and emphasising that these are not substitutes for effective change leadership but a necessary condition for it. The emphasis will also be on the idea of iterative planning, planning that is goal focussed rather than plan focussed. This will emphasise the need to monitor progress and use monitoring as feedback to the change process, to revise and improve it in order to achieve the goal. In this context, the leader’s role will be defined as enabling rather than directing, ensuring that the goals are clear, understood and agreed, and that any barriers to their achievement are identified and overcome, whilst delegating responsibility to those best able to do the tasks needed to achieve the goal. It will also emphasise the importance of accountability to stakeholders and the need to be aware of their goals and expectations, as well as the role of gatekeepers, able to help or harm the achievement of the change project’s goals