This paper aims to present a paradigm shift in the way leaders are developed, more suited to the new order that is emerging as the recession recedes.
The prevailing notion that leadership is synonymous with being in control of an organization is challenged, together with the belief that leadership development is primarily concerned with modifying behavior in line with a set of success criteria. The paper explores how these twin assumptions contributed to the financial crisis, and presents an alternative approach based on research with high achievers experiencing severe stress.
Practices that leaders use to retain a sense of balance and resourcefulness are defined, along with those associated with pursuing work irresponsibly. These form the basis of an alternative approach to the development of leaders – “sustainable leadership” – predicated on the integration of three core individual processes and their engagement with the culture of the organization. Practical examples of applying this approach in the current business environment are described.
Future research might consider the effect of developing sustainable leadership on the long‐term performance of the organization and its responsibilities in the broader environment.
in order to foster leadership that acts in service to the long‐term health and performance of the organization and its broader environment, it is necessary to adopt an approach to leadership development that recognizes that the leader's physical and psychological health determines effective performance, and that business and markets do not operate in isolation from society but are inextricably linked.
The paper addresses how to sustain the leader's psychological and physiological health and their performance, and the link between this and creating sustainable organizations.
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