Christiaan Lam – over de dagelijkse avonturen van een mobiele manager
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Bush & Blair != Roosevelt & Churchill

The British historian Sir Ian Kershaw has, in reaction to the appearance of his new book ‘Ten Decisons that changed the world, 1940-1941’, commented to Bush and Blair and compared them with Roosevelt and Churchill, whom (he claims) have performed as their respective rolemodels.

His assumptions are not very worldshocking: most of the common current leadership theories emphasise at least marginal consulting with your ‘disciples’. Then, decisionmaking-ability (decision-fähigkeit) is often mingled (or replaced) with dictatorial behavior. Churchills decision to continue the war is generally contributed to his stubbornness, where it was actually taken after days of consulting with the war-cabinet. On the other hand, apparently Blair decided to join the Iraq-war based upon personal convictions and visions.

His conclusion is simple: where democratic leaders are more bound in the decisions they take, sometimes hindered (which may lead to stalling and delay) their decisions are inevitably more balanced and better reasoned upon. Dictatorial decisions, while fast and unified, in the end are bound to end up in catastrophe, when decisions will invariably be made in emotion, misinformation, misdirection or otherwise upon false information.

In military Leadership models, the following matrix is often used:
Directive (leader tells, decides and monitors; followers listen and act; best in extreme stress/timelimit situations),
Consultative (leader consults followers, then decides; followers inform and act; best in mid-to-high stress/timelimit situations),
Groupdecision (leader leads meeting, group decides and acts; best when acceptance of change or decision is needed),
Subassertive / Delegational (leaders gives over decisionmaking to followers; depending on charisma of leader and his final power he is either subassertive (followers do not listen to or respect the leader), or he is delegational (gives out grand strategy, cadre, resources, then trusts them to act responsible); best for day-to-day business and standard situations using SOP’s).

Usually, consultative and delegational leadership styles work best in the long term (depending on stress level and time limits of course).

A post on www.managementteam.nl (Dutch) sais about the same thing by the way.

Full article in Volkskrant of August 4 (Dutch).

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