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Leadership - A Finance and Management special report

Leadership encompasses so many concepts that it should come as no surprise that there are more than 20,000 books on the subject, as Morgen Witzel points out in his article ‘Understanding Leadership in Theory and Practice’.

Reading one a week would take you some 400 years, but with leadership ideology changing every decade, most of these books are likely to be regarded as out-of-step with current thinking. This special report on leadership has been compiled to point you in the right direction in your leadership search, although we have shied away from any articles covering leadership office politics.

The authors writing for this report all firmly support the idea that, although some leaders may be born, many more are made, and the appropriate training and support forms a vital component in this development. Your inner leader is waiting within yourself for the opportunity to blossom - it just needs nurturing.

Not all of you reading this will be seeking a leadership role, but the concept of leadership will still be important to you as you develop your approach to the changing work environment.

Rupert Eales-White, in ‘Defining the Attributes of Successful Leadership’, supports the notion that we are all leaders, moving us away from the more traditional authoritarian view of leadership. His second article introduces us to the idea that showing ‘cool behaviour’ maximises our chances of leading through controlling effectively; you’ll be pleased to know that he does not advocate extending this theory to wearing your kid’s clothes at work!

Terry Carroll emphasises the leadership aspects of the finance function in developing a better understanding of the business implications of the finance reports and also supports the idea that we all can be leaders with the right training and support. Those seeking training courses on leadership may wish to go straight to page 26 for a list of ICAEW leadership programmes.

The four accountants interviewed by Andrew Sawers share their thoughts on leadership, and clearly support the concept that leadership is shown at many different levels throughout organisations. Mark Wilcox takes the view that leaders should be searching within their own organisations for talent and repositioning staff to maximise their potential. He argues that companies should also recognise that not all those in senior positions continue to provide value; some may have passed their ‘sell-by’ date.

We have the seven leadership challenges highlighted by Mark Anderson in his article on page four and Niamh O’Keefe reminds us that, as the average leadership position only last a matter of years, actions taken in the first 100 days play a particularly important role.

Further reading materials, available from the ICAEW Library and Information Service, are listed at the back of this report as usual, including a new separate list of on-line resources.

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Full article only available to ICAEW members and students.