HR Professional - July/August 2012 - (Page 54)

T H E L A ST WOR D KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON B Y A LY S O N N Y I R I , C H R P R ediscovered in 2000 by bookstore owners in Britain, the 1939 “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster has enjoyed a popular revival in Britain and beyond. Posters, T-shirts, coffee mugs and tote bags sport this slogan. This popular slogan was one of three posters designed to bolster public morale at the start of the Second World War. The other posters read “Freedom Is In Peril. Defend it With All Your Might,” and “Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory.” Each poster carried an image of the crown to remind citizens of their duty. None of the posters were ever released to the public. Just as war transforms a country, so does an economic recession. In the post 2008 recession, we are seeing a fundamental shift in how leadership is defined and practiced. Images of the strong and solitary “captain of the ship” are yielding to diffuse leadership models. In today’s global marketplace, change happens at such an accelerated speed that long-term planning by one leader is no longer possible or realistic. Many existing management practices and approaches to leadership were built upon more stable and predictable contexts. These old management techniques are not effective in today’s economic realities. The “Art of War” style manifestoes are quickly being left behind by astute business leaders. Over the past three years, new leadership philosophies and models have emerged, in which command-and-control leadership model of 20th century business organizations, is no longer desirable or feasible. Innovation and adaptation cannot be commanded. Creativity does not flourish under tight control. Leadership today is more about influence rather than power. In a newly released book entitled Leading with Kindness, authors William F. Baker and Michael O’Malley maintain that kindness and leadership are complementary and the combination of the two gives a leader a significant advantage. Kind leaders possess six traits: compassion, integrity, gratitude, authenticity, humility and humour. In another new release, The Trust Worthy Leader, author Amy Lyman, Cofounder of Great Place to Work® Institute, argues that leaders who develop high-trust relationships within their organization gain a competitive advantage. Lyman has spent over a decade researching what makes a workplace great. The trustworthy leader’s growth and development take shape over time and as they move through six distinct elements, their trustworthiness increases. These elements include: honour, inclusion, value and engage followers, share information, develop others, and movement through uncertainty to pursue opportunities. David Lapin, corporate advisor and rabbi, says that “greatness of character powers leadership success more than any single factor.” His book, Lead By Greatness, offers eight character traits of extraordinary leaders: authenticity, destiny, mastery, humility, vulnerability, generosity, awareness and wisdom. Lapin counsels leaders to understand that to inspire others, you must be committed to a purpose larger than yourself. Pick up business magazines like Harvard Business Review or Canadian Business and you will find articles addressing the shift in leadership thinking similar to the new books mentioned above. To remain competitive, many authors say, companies need to understand that in the age of the knowledge worker, leaders cannot command them to think or to contribute. Sun Tzu’s Art of War still has its supporters among business leaders and consultants. New books are coming out this year extolling the virtues of applying military strategy to business leadership, warning leaders about competitors out to kill your business. But today, we have more and more voices offering another way to lead; a kinder, more mindful way. As Peter Drucker once said, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right thing.” HR P R OF E S S I ON A L 54 J u l y / A u g u s t 2 0 1 2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of HR Professional - July/August 2012

Editor's Letter
Leadership Matters
The End of Reviews as We Know Them
Coaching: Blazing Your Own Trail
Mentoring the Future
HR 101
Interview with an HR Hero: Sheila Rider
Off The Shelf
Technology & Privacy
The Last Word

HR Professional - July/August 2012