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Our obsession with the cult of leadership

Posted by on 26 Feb 2012 in The Capable Leader | 0 comments

Ultimately leaders must be judged not through popularity polls but against what they actually do in power and the courage they have shown in doing it. Written by Meena Thuraisingham, Director and Principal, TalentInvest, Feb 2012   A recent article by Bill George in the HBR caused me to reflect on the process of leadership, rather than the attributes of the leader. The stories in that article centred on the attributes of great leaders rather than the process of leadership or the collective endeavour that is leadership. More recently I turned my attention to how this heroic model of leadership has also shaped the way those who are led have come to judge their political leaders. We seem obsessed with the personality of the leader rather than the process of leadership. Let’s start with the wave of excitement that seized the US and the rest of the world, sweeping oratorially splendid Obama into the most powerful leadership job in the world. Expectations were quickly dashed when the realities of working with a partisan and dysfunctional congress failed to deliver the change speedily. The mood of the voting public quickly soured. Despite that Obama has worked hard and passed several key pieces of legislation – health care, renewable energy rebates, the bailout package, diluting the bush era tax breaks for the super rich and so on, through the process of collaborating and compromising with a largely hostile Congress. Despite this track record he trails in the polls and during a visit this week to the US, I observed that a very dark anti-Obama mood seems to have descended on America. He is blamed for everything from the rise of China to the rise in fuel prices! In Australia there is a comparable story. The Gillard government has passed a large amount of legislation including some profoundly reforming legislation despite being a minority government, namely the Mining Tax, the Carbon Tax, private health insurance rebate changes, renewable energy legislation and so on. In last week’s edition, the Economist commented “In the sense of being able to get legislation through parliament despite having only a minority, Ms Gillard has proved an unexpectedly successful prime minister”. However despite this universally recognised track record for change (one reflected in Australia enjoying one of its most successful economic periods in history), shrill and misinformed voices fill the media, the coffee shops, the shopping malls and the office cubicles pointing to her irritating voice, bad dress sense, the school marm look and more – comments that centre around her personality and her lack of it.   Over the years, Angela Merkel has also had her fair share of ridicule, her weight, her frumpy clothes and shoes and...

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The 5 essential skills of a CEO…

Posted by on 3 Feb 2012 in The Capable Leader | 0 comments

Much has been written about what makes a successful CEOs. Put simply, the skills of a CEO can be distilled down to 5 essential skills. They need to be able to:  1.Judge where the world and company’s markets are heading and framing a vision of how the company should reposition itself 2.Identify (and if needed recruit) the talent that can turn that vision into reality 3.Understand in a deep and substantive way the problems that the company faces 4.Know comprehensively how the company really works and know the key players well 5.Take the difficult decisions necessary to remove the barriers to success TalentInvest helps companies build their CEO pipelines and strengthen CEO succession. For help with this contact meena@talentinvest.com.au        ...

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