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New research places the quality of leadership relationships at the centre of organisational success.

The much-published ideas on leadership have come under scrutiny in a new study which distinguishes truly exceptional leadership from run-of-the mill management-speak. The research, by the Work Foundation, identifies three principles of outstanding leadership coupled with nine themes that exceptional leaders adhere to.

While they confirm that effective performance requires managers to be genuinely person-centred with their staff, the authors go further in identifying that “outstanding leaders see themselves as facilitating and nurturing empowerment through a conscious philosophy and practice.”

A Common Misconception

There is an assumption that a controlling and target-driven approach is essential in a good leader. While there is no doubt that they must be committed and focused on results, the study shows that a leader does not have to be agressive or harsh. Instead, it says, leaders need to do the opposite and switch to a much more subtle, people-centred ­approach to leadership. Targets are important, and they’ll be more easily achieved with a collaborative and caring stance.

So leaders are likely to be genuinely interested in the people they lead, to engage with them maintain an almost obsessive focus on the relationships with those around them. This may sound like ‘more of the same’. After all, haven’t we heard it all before? Yes, say the authors, but outstanding leaders develop qualities that go beyond the rhetoric. For example, they demonstrate above average ability to reflect on their own actions and monitor their behaviour. Vision and trust building are important, but equally so are consistency and the ability to create purpose.

Once again this confirms the importance of ensuring a positive quality of workplace culture, and of fostering a leadership relationships that enable people to thrive.

Leadership Relationships

See the original research,

Read an The Secrets of Strong Leadership, by Lisa Bachelor in the Guardian

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