The leadership delusion?

Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

Phil Dourado also says research shows that bad leaders score themselves highly for leadership on self-assessment tests. Not so surprsing and it makes me wonder: how much of this is their personal capacity for self-delusion, and how much is a failure – for whatever reason – of people around them to put them right?

I might even ask whether the label of “leadership” really is anything other than a fancy way of giving approval? I’m interested in what Gabriele Lakomski says here, summarising her book Managing without Leadership.

Our everyday experience tells us that organisational life is messy and complex and that those in positions of leadership are neither omniscient nor infallible. Why, then, do we quite readily believe that there is a causal link between organisational functioning and leadership? Why do we not believe our own experience that how things work in organisations is much more complicated?

…In a naturalistic redescription of the phenomenon, we might view it as an emergent, self-organising property of complex systems. There would then be no need for engaging in more leadership studies: instead, we could redirect our attention to the study of the fine-grained properties of contextualised organisational practice.

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