ALL THE ABOVE
I am often surprised at the apparent ignorance of many researchers of the real meaning of leadership.
Last year the Australian Centre for Industrial Relations Research and Training released a report that identified 15 main factors that make for workplace excellence. They were: quality of working relationships; workplace leadership; having a say; clear values; being safe; the built environment; recruitment (the right people for a job); pay and conditions; receiving feedback; autonomy and uniqueness; a sense of ownership and identity; learning; passion; having fun; and, community connections.
The report included statements such as:
1. (the researchers) “… had expected leadership to be the main driver of high-performance work, based on the results of earlier studies, but it seems that good old friendship, co-operation and a supportive environment are priceless in the pursuit of business success.”
2. “As well as good working relationships and strong leadership, the study found that people perform best when they can have a say in work practices and expect useful feedback.”
The researchers seem to suggest that leadership is something that is separate from all the other factors that make for workplace excellence. Well, in our view, leadership at its various levels in an organisation is responsible for ‘all the above’. Like good teams, which don’t just happen, the 15 factors also don’t just happen! Someone somehow has to create or cause them to come into existence – and that is the clear responsibility of leaders.
This message is the thrust of our leadership philosophy and training methodology. As participants of our training will recall, those who aspire to leadership must know not only what leaders need to do to ‘drive excellence’ but also how they need to go about creating the environment in which their people will be successful.
Peter McDougall, March 2005