Critical Perspectives On Management And Leadership

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Critical Perspectives on Management and Leadership

Critical Perspectives on Management and Leadership

Executive Summary

"Leadership" can be an elusive quality. How does one become a better leader? And what makes a great leader? Although there are no easy answers to these questions, key elements of leadership -- including communication, delegation, and team building -- can be studied and developed. Courage and integrity are at the core of successful leadership. These character traits are primarily learned, not innate. Large organisations find difficult to remain competitive in this changing environment owing to their complexity of processes, size and infrastructural limitations. In response to intensifying global competition, more and more organisations are striving to create inclusive work environments that can offer dramatic improvements in productivity, quality, creativity, customer service, job satisfaction and talent retention. Those experiencing the greatest success tend to be those that make creating and sustaining an organisational culture of inclusion a leadership priority, and establish tangible ways of holding leaders throughout the organisation accountable for making quantifiable progress.

Any change effort that is not supported and modelled by the organisation's senior executives will quickly be recognized as nothing more than a "flavour of the month" by the people of the organisation. But the effort also not supported by mid-level managers, work-group leaders and front-line supervisors throughout the organisation or it will evolve into an "us against them" scenario in which people are not held accountable for failing to buy into the senior leaders' direction for the organisation.

"... Praise loudly, blame softly." (Agboola, 1998)


The most gifted athletes rarely make good coaches. The best violinist will not necessarily make the best conductor. Nor will the best teacher necessarily make the best head of the department. So it's critical to distinguish between the skill of performance and the skill of leading the performance, two entirely different skills (Rison, 1995).


Leadership is a complexed process by which a person influences others to accomplish a mission, task, or objective and directs the organisation in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent.

Jack Welch, respected business leader and writer is quoted as proposing these fundamental leadership principles (notably these principles are expanded in his 2001 book 'Jack: Straight from the Gut'):

1. There is only one way - the straight way. It sets the tone of the organisation

2. Be open to the best of what everyone, everywhere, has to offer; transfer learning across your organisation

3. Get the right people in the right jobs - it is more important than developing a strategy

4. An informal atmosphere is a competitive advantage

5. Make sure everybody counts and everybody knows they count

6. Legitimate self-confidence is a winner - the true test of self-confidence is the courage to be open

7. Business has to be fun - celebrations, energise and organisation

8. Never underestimate the other guy

9. Understand where real value is added and put your best people there

10. Know when to meddle and when to let go - this is pure instinct

Transformational Leadership

“A leader who treats relationships with followers in terms of motivation ...
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