Bosses, be less egotistic and more focused on stakeholders, urges report


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Leaders need to develop beyond their personal ego and become radical, ethical and authentic if they are to succeed in the 21st century, according to a report published this week, based on research over the past 13 years.

‘Transpersonal’ leadership means putting first the true stakeholders of an organisation (customers, employees, suppliers, the community, the planet and shareholders), rather than personal reward, power for control and prestige, said John Knights, author of The Invisible Elephant and the Pyramid Treasure and chairman of executive coaching company, LeaderShape.

“Very few leaders realise they need to change themselves. They change others, they change process or structures, or they change the organisation,” Knights told 100 City professionals at the launch of the report. “But if they are going to cope with a changing world, they must first change themselves.”

Knights terms the fact most leaders are unaware of how their own behaviour affects their performance ‘the invisible elephant’ in the room. He offers a new leadership framework that focuses on how leaders can change their behaviour, rather than what they should do to become a great leader.

According to Knights, who has built his framework based on 13 years of experience working with senior leaders, the journey of change starts with ‘Rational Ego-based As-usual Leadership’, goes through ‘Robust Emotionally Aware Leadership’ and arrives at ‘Radical Ethically Authentic Leadership’. To get there, a leader needs to follow seven elements of emotionally aware leadership before embarking on the nine steps to transpersonal leadership.

Charles Tilley, chief executive of CIMA, said the report was timely, given the widespread dissatisfaction with corporate leaders. “One problem is that many leaders are not aware of how their behaviour, and how they deal with other people, affects their own performance and the performance of the organisation. For this reason, we emphasise skills in management competencies, such as communication, influence, negotiation and, of course, leadership, in the CIMA qualification.”

PwC chairman and senior partner, Ian Powell, added: “There is a very simple view that we should ‘do the right thing for our clients, our people and our community’. In this day and age, employees in every business need to believe in the values and ethics of the organisation they work for.”

The report is published by Tomorrow’s Company in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), PwC UK, Tata and Korn Ferry Whitehead Mann. It is available free from:

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