Why are organisational misbehaviours such as cynicism, apathy, bullying and disengagement increasingly prevalent in the workplace? This course examines these tensions and how transformational, authentic and inclusive leadership styles offer an alternative to the more autocratic, job-centred and controlling leadership styles of the past. You’ll learn how the digital revolution, along with an increased focus on projects and teamwork, has dramatically altered the perception of leadership in a way that now demands all organisational members take on some form of self-leadership. And you’ll learn how this change is causing tensions between traditional leaders and the contemporary practices vital to maintain agility in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace. This learning will be complemented by structured activities such as video lectures, quizzes, discussion prompts and written assessments.
The Leadership Challenge
Welcome to your first week in the Adapt your leadership style course. This week you will take a look at the material that will be covered in this course, what you can expect to learn, and the questions that you explore. This week presents you with a number of models and tools to help you develop a helicopter view of the challenges of contemporary leadership and become confident in your ability to critically analyze the wide range of ideas and theories you will encounter. This week you will examine the concept of leadership as something possessed by an individual, looking at personality traits, profiles, attitudes and behaviors associated with the practice of leadership.
The Practices of Individual Leadership
Welcome to the second week in the Adapt your Leadership Style course. This week you will deepen your understanding of leadership as a set of behaviours or traits possessed or displayed by an individual. In doing so, you will see how the relatively self-enclosed leadership concepts presented in the first week have increased in sophistication and complexity via notions of leadership styles and decision-making variables. The models examining this range from the academically pure, but perhaps unrealistic in practice, contingency models of leadership, to the highly pragmatic interpretations of leadership action and style found in the politics and power struggles of organisational life.
Welcome to the third week in the Adapt your Leadership Style course. This week you will leave the ideas of individual leadership traits, behaviors, and styles behind and focus on the theories and practices of team leadership. Building from the baseline skills of communication, coaching and conflict resolution, you will then examine the complex interrelationships in teams through concepts of in-group and out-group behavior, and leader-follower roles and interactions. Finally, you will examine how teamwork itself is becoming complex and varied, with many people charged with leading virtual teams or displaying informal leadership qualities in self-managed teams.
Leading the Organisation
Welcome to the fourth week in the Adapt your Leadership Style course. Having covered individual leadership theories and the demands of leading teams, it is now time for the big league – how to lead an organization. Starting with an examination of the shift from transactional to transformational leadership, this week illustrates why the challenge of leading a contemporary organisation can be so mystifying. Ranging from the way in which leaders must generate emotional responses in their followers through charisma, vision and culture, to the complex challenge of leading diverse groups of people, this week concludes with the concept of authentic leadership – which questions the very validity of all the theories that precede it.
Leadership and Ambiguity
Welcome to the fifth week in the Adapt your Leadership Style course. This week you will examine two established, but somewhat alternative, concepts of leadership that examine how leaders have to learn to deal with ambiguity in order to lead effectively. You will first explore the idea that leaders go through developmental stages, which are formed through progressively more sophisticated and multi-level perspectives and practices. Following that, you will examine how leadership is never easy but risky and necessarily adaptive, injecting discomforting ambiguity into seemingly obvious situations at its highest level. Finally, you will look at how contemporary ideas about organisational conditions might be pushing such perspectives on leadership increasingly into the mainstream spotlight.
Critical, Pragmatic, and Popular Perspectives on Leadership
Welcome to the final week in the Adapt your Leadership Style course. This week you will leave mainstream theory behind and examine some radical and pragmatic perspectives on leadership. The radical perspective will examine how leadership and followership are contested perspectives that have a darker side that can be used to “legitimize” some unenlightened behaviours. Taking these claims seriously, you will see how some pragmatic ideas on leadership have revealed the degree to which “bad” or “toxic” leadership has proliferated, how leadership development seems to struggle to solve this challenge, and the behaviors and misbehaviors associated with this problem. Finally, you will examine some ideas proposed by populist leadership gurus and look at the ways in which leadership might be conceptualized in the future.