Perspectives on leadership

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Three leaders on what makes good leadership, where to find it and how to develop it

Peter Hope, global head of the Leadership Academy at Schneider Electric

“In the digital tsunami, the world has moved on from assembly lines and mechanistic production… but our leadership models haven’t. Leaders need to be more versatile and responsive to their circumstances, and this requires losing the shackles of traditional leadership development. The new ‘everyday’ leadership heroes we need must be inspired by fables about networks, collaboration and community, rather than authority, ruthlessness, and arduous survivalism. I think it is a fallacy that we have too few leaders. We just look in the wrong places and fail to support the dreams of those who can make a difference.”

Melissa Daimler, former SVP, talent at WeWork and various senior HR positions at Adobe and Twitter

“Organisations continue to talk about how to transform digital strategy, how to use AI to improve processes, and leverage machine learning to analyse people data. Yet we don’t realise that the very people who are eager to help us with these transformations are those employees who may not yet have the title of leader. We can transform organisations faster if we help those people lead. I have worked with leaders who do it, who trust their employees and encourage them to try new things. And I have coached leaders who think they need to control employees and only give them opportunities when they’ve ‘earned it’. The latter were mostly burnt out and unhappy. The former created bigger roles for themselves and for their teams. What these good leaders never forget is that working is learning. Where else can you try new things, fail, succeed, and build a portfolio of ‘art’ through your everyday activities?”

François Eyssette, president and founder at HR Futures and former CHRO at BIC

“For years the generation in charge was trained to ‘win the race’. First at university, then at each step of their careers; you had to be seen as the most valuable individual if you wanted to lead. Then, once in the C-suite, we started to share the feeling that the race was too consuming. We were lacking talent for our company’s future; many high potentials were leaving for other companies or looking for a better work/life balance. Our leadership development programmes can yield much better returns by strengthening leadership communities that focus on both the results and culture of our companies. I admire the metaphor of the leader as artist. It fits an age where we ask our future leaders to focus on organisational purpose not just making a profit.”

Further reading

The art of great leadership

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