Lessons of leadership – steering the way for those who look ahead

by 16 Sep 2009

From the banks on Wall Street to the coffee shop on the corner – unless a company has strong leadership it will be unlikely to survive a crisis such as the economic one that unfolded over the past 12 months.

In fact, according to Harvard University professor Bill George, it is largely poor and short-sighted leadership which allowed the economic crisis to reach such catastrophic levels in the first place. He cites an inability to foresee problems down the track as well as an overdeveloped focus on short-term matters as problems that contributed to the GFC specifically and a malaise for business in general.(see cover story p16)

A new era of leadership is emerging, though, and, according to Lloyds International bank CEO David Smith, HR practitioners are very much expected to be thought leaders in this space – to be proactive and to help develop leadership plans in order to prevent situations like this occurring again.

Gaining the trust of the people is essential for every leader. According to a survey by the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University, 80 per cent of American people believe there is a leadership crisis in the US, particularly within the financial sector.

However it’s not just the financial sector in which the topic of failed leadership is important. There are some fundamentally flawed business models which this global recession has unveiled – and leading HR professionals will be very much involved in helping companies pick up the pieces of the failed models to embark on a new era of leadership.