New insights about leadership

Great article in the latest issue of Scientific American Mind (and who out there doesn’t already have a subscription?).

In the "New Psychology of Leadership", authors Stephen Reicher, Alexander Haslam and Michael Platow highlight 3 fast facts on how to lead:

  1. Effective leaders understand the values and opinions of their followers. They don’t assume absolute authority and they opt for consensus over charisma. Leaders engage folks in genuine, two-way conversations to get a handle on what the group stands, for, believes in and how they should act.
  2. No fixed set of personality traits guarantee good leadership. The most desirable traits depend on the nature of the group being led. In other words, bringing in a leader who did a great job somewhere else doesn’t automatically mean a repeat performance with the new organization.
  3. Leaders must not only fit in with their group. They must also shape the group’s identity in a way that makes their own personal agenda and policies appear to be an expression of that identity. "When a shared social identity exists, individuals who can best represent that identity will have the most influence over the group’s members and be the most effective leaders."

"Leaders are most effective when they can induce followers to see the group’s interest as their own interest," say the authors. "Leaders must try to position themselves among the group rather than above it."

Published by

Jay Robb

I've reviewed more than 500 business books for the Hamilton Spectator since 1999 and worked in public relations since 1993.

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