Saturday, August 11, 2007

The New Psychology of Leadership

I found quiet leadership insight in a recent online article written by Michael J. Platow , S. Alexander Haslam and Stephen D. Reicher titled, Scientific American Mind: The New Psychology of Leadership.
The article summary states, "recent research in psychology points to secrets of effective leadership that radically challenge conventional wisdom."
I debate whether the findings are really radical given the growing body of work in support of quiet leadership. Nevertheless, I found the core hypothesis and research citations insightful. For example, an early paragraph states,
effective leaders must work to understand the values and opinions of their followers—rather than assuming absolute authority—to enable a productive dialogue with followers about what the group embodies and stands for and thus how it should act.
This states the importance of community in leadership. Consensus and participation is far more important than charisma. One of the more intriguing research studies sited was the BBC Prison Study, a study of leadership that emerges from the group identify of the prisoners compared to the less effective authority-based leadership exhibited by the guards. This study was the basis for a controversial reality show called "The Experiment."
My only challenge to the article was their use of the leadership of George W Bush as an example of the new leadership. To the authors, Bush gained significant leadership stature by projecting himself as a "regular guy." I can say with certainty that President Bush will not make my list of Quiet Leaders. Credibility and honesty will trump the regular guy status.
Thanks for reading. Please lead quietly.

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