Why Good Leaders Are Hard to Find. Essay

2386 WordsMar 11, 201310 Pages
Why good leaders are hard to find |http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/08/01/1059480538838.html | | |[pic] | | | The qualities of strong leadership are easily understood - putting them into practice is the tricky part, argues John N. Button. In the contemporary world, "leadership" seems as elusive as the Scarlet Pimpernel. There is plenty of grumbling about its apparent absence in practice. At the same time, there is no shortage of books dealing with theories of leadership in politics, business and institutional life. Mostly they are books with titles that assume that leadership is hard to find. Sometimes a book can be judged by its cover. The quest for leadership has become something of a minor industry, in which the competition is fierce. There are foundations that specialise in leadership training and attempting to identify future leaders. Educational institutions offer a variety of courses on the subject. Consultants provide seminars and lectures to soothe the nerves of the unduly anxious. In a sense this "leadership industry" creates its own demand. But it is also a response to a pervasive anxiety about the quality of leadership in public and institutional life, in itself a symptom of uncertainty in a world of rapid and sometimes traumatic change. People tend to hark back to tried and true models from the past. Nostalgia is a corollary of anxiety. Ask around about leaders and names such as Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Nelson Mandela are the first to crop up. "Churchill," writes Andrew Roberts in Hitler and Churchill: Secrets of Leadership "is still recognised as the personification of courageous

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