The AMA Handbook of Leadership

By Marshall Goldsmith; John Baldoni et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 23

Leading for Sustainability

Fons Trompenaars and Peter Woolliams

While organizations share similar problems during these difficult times, the approach their leaders adopt to solving them will be different and often rooted in the culture and past behaviors of the organization. The challenge today in defining appropriate and effective leadership to realize a successful and sustainable future is to include a perspective that transfers to the dynamics and competing demands of modern (global) business. Too rigid adherence to any one strategic approach—ranging from scientific management, or a Theory Y human resource dimension basis, to customer orientation, shareholder value, or corporate social responsibility—has been shown over time to be unduly restrictive. Similarly, the plethora of competing leadership models—including those derived from trait, behavioral, participative, situational, contingency, transactional, and transformational theories—does not inform leaders how they should lead their organizations and people into the new future.

Survival needs to be based on a reconciliation of the dilemmas created between the competing demands of all stakeholders, including employees, shareholders, and customers. New solutions are required that are grounded in a strategy that is aligned with the organization's values. We submit that a new paradigm of leadership is required to revitalize business from the credit crunch and beyond in an approach that is more akin to the “Servant Leader.” This chapter identifies how to connect and embody the many competing values that make an organization so complex and explains how Servant Leaders enable others to consistently achieve their highest performance and innovative pathways.

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