Breakthrough Leadership Case Study

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Foreword In December, 2001, Harvard Business Review devoted a special issue to the challenge of Breakthrough Leadership. It was this issue that inspired me to seek to better integrate my experience in psychology with my practice in Leadership Development. For me the challenge was to understand how leaders unlock the potential of the people that they lead by removing the barriers to their development. Breakthrough leadership was described as “breaking through old habits of thinking to uncover fresh solutions to perennial problems. It also means breaking through interpersonal barriers that we all erect against genuine human contact. It’s leadership that breaks through the cynicism that many people feel about their job and helps them find…show more content…
In 1985 in conjunction with Bruce Avolio he produced an instrument to measure both transactional and transformational leadership. The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) has been the subject of extensive research and is still the primary quantitative instrument to measure transformational leadership. The concept was brought to public attention in 1986 when Noel Tichey and Mary Anne Devanna published their book entitled “The Transformational Leader”3. Theories in this area have also been associated with work into visionary leadership, servant leadership, inspirational leadership and emotional intelligence. All of these approaches could be broadly included under the umbrella of transformational…show more content…
The underlying principle was that the workforce in general, could not be trusted to work without supervision. Regardless of whether this was due to lack of competence or some perceived defect of character it meant that the key management challenge of the times was to control behaviour. This entrenched command and control management as the managerial paradigm of the industrial age. Command and Control Management Both command and control management and the hierarchical structure came to dominate organisational life for over two centuries to the present day. It is a significant conjunction that both are coming under attack and both are increasingly seen as less relevant in a modern, highly competitive economy. Both, in practice, produce organisations that are resistant to change and are remarkably under-performing in terms of the development and utilisation of human potential. They have had their day, even though in their time they were seen as quite effective. They served a purpose in a rapidly industrialising world where labour was a commodity, where workers were interchangeable and where the machines and mechanical processes contained the real value. They introduced supervision as a key role for management and this enshrined control through supervision at successive layers up through the hierarchy to the
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