Research and commentators identified IRRESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP as the root cause of the globalfinancial meltdown. To most commentators, greed and a lack of understanding triggered the collapse.We asked a different question. We wanted to find out why so many intelligent people followed the herdinstinct. Our previous research had identified different manifestations of TOXIC LEADERSHIP defined as“any form of bullying or manipulation that causes stress in a subordinate or colleague”. We noted that thepress labelled bad debts and worthless securities as “toxic debts” or “toxic assets”. How could anyonelink the word toxic (i.e. poisonous) with asset (i.e. advantage)? Our research suggests that manyintelligent people don’t think straight or logically anymore. We have created a new label for straightthinking that leads to RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP. We call it “Values Governed” (VG) leadership. Weuse the term to differentiate it from 2 prevalent styles of leadership in our societies namely “beliefsdirected” (BD) leadership and “feelings driven” (FD) leadership.Beliefs directed leadership is rationality gone awry. It works on a self-regulating premise: “unless there istangible evidence that disproves something, I can accept it as true”. On first hearing, the premise soundsreasonable, but “look beneath the surface” at the consequences and you will probably recoil in horror.One example: the 2 guys deemed to have “dreamed up” the idea of sub-prime believed that what theyhad “figured out” (their term) was the perfect security. Their “approach” transformed “lead into gold” – sub-prime into triple AAA debt. When we read it, in these terms, we are aghast that highly intelligent“bankers” missed it. The truth is different. Many (back office) banking professionals did NOT miss thesignificance. They reported it to their superiors and they were told very firmly to shut up, resign or takeearly retirement. Notice the emergence of Toxic Leadership.Our study set out to identify and understand which combinations (or cluster) of behaviours manifestedwhich leadership styles. We used a model based on the neurological basis of behaviour to collect andanalyse data. The framework of the model enables profilers and profilees to understand behaviour fromboth a perceived (self perception) and a predicted (what others think) perspective.The study revealed that 85% of leaders believe they have a different leadership to the style revealed inthe study. Most of the 85% believed that they were either pacesetters or achievement-oriented. Fewwould have believed that the majority of their subordinates would perceive then as “autocratic” leaders – bullying their staff to produce the required results. In neurological terms, most of the 85% would becategorised as front-brainers (pacesetters) or left-brainers (achievers). Put the 2 styles together – frontleft brainers – and, bingo, they become autocratic. The key point to note is that no individual can actually“look beneath the surface” at their own behaviour patterns. Thus, the leaders perceived themselves as“pacesetters” or “achievers”. Nearly all of them had behaviour patterns where these 2 styles weresignificant (i.e. they appeared in the top 3 out of 9 styles). The consequence is that most of them remainunaware that their style has a toxic effect on other people and on their performance.The results suggest that, on the surface, genetics have less influence on the leadership style and thatcircumstances and events have more influence when the “beliefs directed” thinking style prevails. Lessthan 15% of the leaders were, in practice, “values governed”. The consistency between self-perceptionand predicted was significantly higher for the 15%. The report also presents facts on why models using abrain-based epistemology and a quasi-neurological framework provide significantly more insightfulbehavioural profiles. In short, what can look “great” on the outside has serious flaws on the inside.The characteristics of 4 toxic leadership styles and 5 non-toxic leadership styles are stated to enable thereaders to understand the behavioural configuration of “Value Governed” leaders. Perhaps more thananything else, in light of the global financial meltdown, the data indicates the need to get “congruentvalues” back in the boardrooms. We noted that, on the surface, a majority of leaders rated themselveshigh in terms of strategic thinking. The results suggest that most of them manifest a dynamic, proactiveand assertive style that prompts them to make expedient decisions rather than strategic decisions. Wesuspect that many modern leaders have non-consciously succumbed to a “quasi-beliefs directed”mindset, believing it to be values based and strategic. In support of our claim, we have noted that, since1970, a massive majority of the influential Business Gurus have emphasised the notion of leadership anddowngraded the benefits of management, in particular execution capability and accountability.
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