Every month, Leadership Issues reviews highlights/trends from features/articles on the subject of leadership appearing in major global newspapers. Today we are reviewing the month of June.
The top four themes for June (in order) appearing in the nationals included:
Leadership and the future
In a very close race, leadership engagement came in ahead of leadership competence to top the leader board this month. The last time it headed the leader board was back in April. This theme crucially deals with the role leaders play in creating an engaging environment. It is widely recognised in surveys and polls that employees want to feel engaged but data such as the 2014 Gallup study of 80,837 US working adults indicate 68 percent of U.S. workers are not engaged in their jobs. This is critical in a post-recessional climate where employees are re-discovering choice and talented millennial workers are walking away from traditional environments. There is an urgent need for leaders to look again at their culture and values around engaging employees if they are to attact and retain top talent. This starts with direct supervisors because as Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman rightly identify “people leave managers, not companies.” Leadership competence came close second with continued assessment and definition of what makes a good leader. This was closely followed by leadership development at the organisational level including training, succession planning and individual coaching and leadership in the future looking at innovation and change.
Three articles stood out this month and are worth profiling.
Carl Safina in a New York Times article entitled Tapping your inner wolf debunks the stereotype we have of the alpha male as controlling and aggressive by recounting alpha male grey wolfs in the wild. In addition to being fierce hunters and decisive, the characteristics of an alpha male grey wolf is “quiet confidence, leading by example, faithful devotion in the care and defense of families, respect for females and a sharing of responsibilities”. Safina suggests we can learn a lot from studying alpha male grey wolfs and learn to “wolf up” some of the softer side of their behaviours. This article points to some core leadership competences.
The theme of debunking received wisdom is continued in Arinya Taleringsri’s article Un-school your employees to unlock their potential published in The Bangkok Post. The article reports on Professor Sugata Mitra The Future of Learning, in which he outlines how learning environments are shaped by environment and that the current learning environments are out of step with the new world order (memorising and directive learning methodologies were fitting for a world order of factories and assembly lines but are inappropriate for a highly technical and knowledge based environment). Mitra calls for an “unschooling” of traditional learning methods which are becoming obsolete and an investment in self organised learning methodologies to equip employees and leaders with the creative self-sufficiency and continuous learning approach needed for a knowledge based world.
I read an online comment once which stated why do leadership commentators box their ideas into three behaviours… seven habits.. ten types etc. and then conclude by telling you how difficult leadership is. On the face of it, this inventory of dissonant behaviours (Rhymer Rigby’s The 10 worst personality types you encounter at work printed in The Telegraph) is a bit of fun but is a highly accurate and recognizable portrait for those of us who have done our stretch of corporate life. The coping strategies are refreshingly direct and non PC. It reminds one of the difficult job of leaders engaging with diverse personalities when delivering results though others.
Click here for a full list of titles and sources from the June archive and remember to check the leadership in the news section everyday where the latest articles on leadership are posted.