Helen Green

Leadership Times They are a Changing

The Nobel committee has awarded the 2016 prize for literature to Bob Dylan “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

The award has given rise to debate about what actually constitutes literature, but if you take the broadest interpretation of literature as a means of communication through words then song lyrics fit the bill as much as does poetry, books or any other form of written communication.

Who knows, perhaps one day even a series of social media communications may make it onto the prize rostrum; but this award does remind us that our interpretation of what constitutes literature or other sphere of human activity should not be constrained by a narrow stylised viewpoint. Take leadership for example. The Leadership Challenge™ may have identified five practices which are characteristic of world-class leaders, but that does not mean that every leader conforms to a prescriptive model.

Perhaps in the dim and distant past the business schools may have looked to churn out leaders who all marched to exactly the same tune; but leadership times have changed and there is now a general recognition that being authentic, knowing and understanding yourself and bringing your own strengths to the table are key factors for successful leaders. To borrow from the citation, when you can create your own authentic leadership approach within the framework of leadership best practice, that’s when true leadership brings prize winning results.