Map out the best connections

The Connected Leader: Creating Agile Organizations for People, Performance and Profit. First Edition - Theory and Practice of Leadership. First Edition

February 23, 2007

Emmanuel Gobillot, author of The Connected Leader , is a senior director with the Hay Group, and has worked as a consultant on leadership and organisational effectiveness for many years. He has come up with a concept of leadership based on the interface between the formal and "real" organisation. He suggests, in essence, that "to be a great leader is not to be able to lead the 'formal' organisation but rather to channel the vitality of the 'real' organisation towards the delivery of the 'formal'

organisation's objectives. It is this ability that I call 'connected leadership'."

Gobillot talks about the six-point journey or core concepts of connected leadership:

* Engaging with the organisations

* The need to go beyond "formal accountability" in organisations because they create a disconnect between them and their people

* Agility and responsiveness take place through informal authority

* The personal skills and influence of the leader to create social networks important for success

* Connected leaders are trustworthy, form meaningful relationships around "a shared agenda" and secure engagement

* The "real" organisation is developed in line with the formal one and there is less role ambiguity.

The book comprises four parts: the case for connections; the case for connected leadership; the levers of connected leadership; and developing connected leadership. In the final part, Gobillot describes five steps to connected leadership: understand the "real" organisation, map out the gap between the "real" and formal organisation, evaluate the impact, develop the characteristics of connected leadership outlined above, and build a supporting context.

This is a very well-written book that builds logically on a concept and provides a framework for seeing the gaps between the formal and informal organisations, and what is needed to create greater flexibility (which Gobillot terms agility) in getting organisations to respond to the market, their customers and one another. Gobillot also provides the reader with questionnaires to explore their leadership style in the context of his theory. This book is mainly for practising managers rather than for undergraduates or MBAs, although it could successfully be used for the latter group.

The second text, Theory and Practice of Leadership by Roger Gill, is much more of a standard textbook on leadership, which could be used for undergraduates in business and management courses and for MBAs. It has ten chapters on "The nature and importance of leadership", "Current thinking about leadership", "Redefining leadership (a new model)", "Leadership, vision and mission", "Leadership, values and culture", "Leadership and strategy", "Leadership and empowerment", "Leadership and influence, motivation and inspiration", "Leadership development" and "Rethinking the leadership challenge". It is very well organised in terms of the relevant theories, research, case studies of appropriate companies and plenty of quotes from leading chief executive officers and others in leadership roles. Issues such as whether leaders are "born or made", "leadership and business ethics", "leadership and emotional intelligence", "inspiration and charisma" and many more are explored in a readable and informative way. As a text for undergraduates or postgraduates, it is a good buy, full of useful material.

The two books are very different and for different markets, but both make a significant contribution. They highlight the importance of both vision and action in a leadership role, which underpins the old Japanese proverb:

"Vision without action is a daydream; action without vision is a nightmare."

Cary L. Cooper is professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University Management School.

The Connected Leader: Creating Agile Organizations for People, Performance and Profit. First Edition

Author - Emmanuel Gobillot
Publisher - Kogan Page
Pages - 221
Price - £19.99
ISBN - 0 7494 483 0 X

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