Don't polish the fish, change the water: The Search for Leadership
Triarchy Theory proposes a model of devolved leadership which returns the focus to teams and work groups, to the flow of the work and to employees as a whole. The emphasis is more on the 'water' and less on the individual 'fish' that swim in it. This, of course, is systems thinking in action.
This approach has been refined and developed and taken in different directions by several of our authors - with a number of important implications:
If individual leaders matter less than the larger system, then leader development programmes start to make less sense. Leadership - as a body of qualities and competencies embedded in the organisation - start to matter more.
This approach is most clearly set out by Bill Tate in his Search for Leadership and the accompanying Toolkit.
The assumed qualities of a leader ('macho' would be the shorthand) are slowly being replaced by more collaborative, consultative skills and qualities. This can take several foms:
Vince Barabba looks at the decision-making skills and processes required in a 21st-century organisation in The Decision Loom.
Graham Davies and Geoff Garrett drew on their own experience and interviewed dozens of other senior executives in writing Herding Cats and the new Herding Professional Cats - guidance on how to lead and manage 'unmanageable' people in academia, research and the professions.
Jennifer Sertl and Koby Huberman look at the variety of ways that leaders can embrace ambiguity, uncertainty and change in Strategy, Leadership and the Soul.
For Dancing at the Edge, Graham Leicester and Maureen O'Hara shadowed emerging leaders in a variety of sectors before updating Carl Rogers's view of what is required of a 'Person of Tomorrow' or a 'Leader of Tomorrow'.
For free reading - Thoughts, Articles and Ideas from the Idioticon - see below.