Friday, 4 December 2009

CIPD09: A New Leadership Paradigm (Part 3)


ASDA Leadership  I’ve already posted twice on the last keynote session from this year’s CIPD conference, ‘A New Leadership Paradigm’ (part 1 - the preview and part 2 – the live blog).  I’d now like to summarise my take-aways from this and other sessions at the conference.

First of all, I thought the keynote debate was really well done.  All three speakers clearly had different perspectives, with Sir Christopher Kelly providing a rather more traditional view of leadership to the others.  However, it was still useful to have him included, as I think things are going to take longer to change in the public sector, and his views helped to keep discussion rooted in reality.

And it is also possible to link all three speakers’ perspectives together.  In his presentation with Julie Smith from PepsiCo, Jasvier Bajer explained that the true definition of leadership is ‘the ability to create movement and deliver change’.  And I think all speakers would agree with this.

But I don’t think Kelly’s views expressed the new paradigm (which is probably why he didn’t think there is one).  The future of leadership isn’t just more management; and its not about command and control.  As David Smith stated in his presentation of ASDA’s change story (see slide), tell & do autocracy is already dead.

The paradigm shift, like the broader shift in the organisational people management agenda is about transparency, authenticity and sustainability.  It’s why I like Avolioand Gardner’s description of authentic leaders (provided by Jane Turner, Newcastle Business School in her workshop on internal coaching):

“Those who are deeply aware of how they think and behave -and are perceived by others as being aware of their own and other’s values, knowledge and strengths; confident, hopeful, optimistic, resilient and of high moral character”


This definition really is, I think, at the heart of the new paradigm of leadership.  

  • Transparency – an alignment between real and perceived
  • Authenticity – based on self-awareness
  • Sustainability -confident, hopeful, optimistic, resilient


But I also think there’s one more piece in this – and this is connectivity which I’ve also already posted on as my additional key message from the conference.

In terms of leadership, this area was best addressed at the conference by Emmanuel Gobillot’s presentation of Leadershift:

“To stay relevant leaders will need to move towards Leadership 2.0 – a type of leadership, non-hierarchical in form, that facilitates the collaboration of a self-selected group.  In this new context, the leader is an integral part in the generation of a narrative that builds and sustains this group’s valuable and co-created outcomes.”


In reflecting back on the conference, I’ve been also be drawn to Gautam Ghosh’s recent post on leadership in hyper-linked times.  In his view, the behaviours of leaders must reflect the new tenets of OD:

  1. Openness and Transparency
  2. Conversation (MBWA)`
  3. Content (co-creation of the brand)
  4. Collaboration
  5. Communities (shared interest groups or tribes connecting around various 'social objects’)
  6. Collective Intelligence

Gautam also notes that these behaviours aren’t new.  But put them all together – transparency, authenticity, sustainability and connectivity – and I think you do arrive at something like a new paradigm for leadership.  And although I’ve mainly be posting here on the business use of web 2.0 tools, this new leadership paradigm is a important and integral aspect of gaining Social Advantage too.



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