Leadership

Leadership

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2836-6.ch001
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Abstract

This book addresses current and aspiring leaders from across the spectrum of organizational types and functional units and encompasses formal as well as informal leadership at all individual, team, unit, and global levels. Chapter one presents an historical overview of leadership and management theory development, outlining the professional and academic framework within which current narratives have evolved. The authors locate leaders as engaged in a complex journey traversing a challenging and rapidly-evolving terrain within a theatre of action that is undergoing a period of global crisis. The reader is introduced to the definitions and debates about leadership and management boundaries, differences, and overlapping responsibilities. Drawing on both theory and practice, current issues and topics are covered in depth.
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Introduction

This book aims to address the interests of current and aspiring leaders, upper level students in universities and colleges, and the general reader and researcher. The book is not specifically aimed at technical or functional specialists or managers, although the broader models, strategic thinking, attitudes and competencies outlined can be successfully applied by them to leadership roles they may acquire.

This first chapter sets out current definitions of leadership and clearly indicates the various new leadership thinking, attitudes and competencies that it is believed will be required to successfully address current and future leadership contexts. Chapter 2 then details a proven, flexible, gender-neutral, highly practical leadership process for leaders to adopt, that assists them in developing capabilities appropriate to dealing successfully with current and emerging leadership environments, regardless of their leadership style, organizational level, functional specialism or business sector.

An assessment instrument is provided in Chapter Two to enable readers to evaluate their own leadership thinking, and that of their organization, against the models provided. Later chapters provide topic reviews that detail the various important global, social, technical and organizational elements contributing to the dynamic complexity leaders are facing, particularly in digitally connected environments, and indicate more specifically how leaders may recognize, review, and react to such factors. To aid in locating the information relevant to the reader’s own practice, most chapters detail a practical case study appropriate to the chapter topic. Finally Chapter Ten explores in detail the current and emerging drivers of global business, plus the nature of leadership in connected (networked) environments; and the critical characteristics of leadership in digitally connected environments. Chapter Ten also presents an assessment instrument to help you assess your readiness to lead in digitally enhanced and connected global business contexts. All the chapters add practical supportive detail to the approach illustrated in Figure 1 which summarizes the intent of our book.

Figure 1.

Dynamic leadership models for global business: Enhancing digitally connected environments

The global leadership crisis is not new (Smith & Peters, 1997) but grows ever more threatening as leaders and systems fail. As Alimo-Metcalf (2010) explains, leadership ideas are affected by all the various changes in society, and so are continuously adapting, although as this author emphasizes, typically this is without regard for the critical importance of diversity. Over time, there has grown broad-based dissatisfaction with the charismatic style of leadership (Collins, 2001; Tuomo, 2006). This has been exacerbated by the corporate scandals that resulted in the demise of Enron (Tourrish & Vatcha, 2005), and there is an increasing sensitivity to the “dark side of leadership” (Hogan & Hogan, 2001; Kellerman, 2004; McIntosh & Rima, 2007; Higgs, 2009) that has been a neglected area until relatively recently, and also to “toxic leadership” (Lipman-Blumen, 2005). These scandals underscore a global failure to keep pace with, or even confront, the multifaceted changes threatening organizations. It is alleged by Walton (2011) that all the leadership-related titles in bookstores prove that the lure of the “heroic and grandiose” is still very much alive, and indeed its appeal is evident in the demand for charismatic, heroic, transformational, and inspirational executive leadership to try to deliver stakeholder value and build viable organizations. As Walton (2011) points out, this unshakable belief in leadership, and an accompanying reliance on these flamboyant leadership styles, create a toxic mix; this author cites a catalogue of high profile corporate transgressions since 2001, all attributed to high-flying executive blunders of one sort or another (Gray et al., 2005; Hamilton & Micklethwait, 2006).More recently, Kellerman (2008, 2012) sees the ‘end of leadership’ or more specifically ‘leader-centrism’ and the emergence of a power-shift moving ‘followers’ centre-stage today.

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