Headlines: September 12th, 2012

Modern organisations in the private and public sectors need a new type of leadership claims the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Research by the Institute reveals the need for a new breed of leadership, which requires development programmes aligned with corporate culture, values and priorities. It is imperative to build a positive workplace cultures that gets the best out of people to support innovation, empowerment and ethical behaviour.

The report highlights various factors that are influencing leadership theory, including falling levels of trust in political and business leadership as a result of the financial crisis, the MPs expenses scandal and public concern over excessive boardroom pay, bonuses and rewards for failure.

The report authors, Rachel Lewis and Emma Donaldson-Feilder, examine the elements of three emerging strands of leadership theory; relational leadership, values-based leadership and contextual leadership.

The first two highlight the quality of the relationship between leader and their direct report, and emphasise the importance of leaders who are self-aware and can display honesty, integrity and strongly held ethical and moral principles. Contextual leadership focuses on how leadership is influenced by the culture and systems of the organisation as a whole, for example, by its values and the extent to which managers are empowered to lead at all levels of an organisation.

The report also highlights key insights for leadership development, for example, evidence suggesting that if a manager regards themselves as a leader they are more likely to behave like one. Managers must also want to learn if development activities are to have any impact so a focus on understanding why people might be motivated to become leaders is also crucial.

Peter Cheese, CEO at the Institute said: “Leadership is no longer just about the boardroom; managers at all levels need leadership skills – the power to win people’s hearts and minds and build relationships based on mutual trust and respect. In an increasingly knowledge-based economy, the key to performance is through engaging employees in ways that produce discretionary effort and creating an environment which encourages greater employee empowerment and voice to facilitate the exchange of ideas and know-how.”