General Election: Our leaders need to stand for something we can believe in, says University of Portsmouth professor

Leaders need to stand for something others can believe in
Leaders need to stand for something others can believe in
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The pantomime season is upon us! Not the Widow Twankey one – the kissing of babies and  unattainable flurry of General Election promises kind of pantomime!

Who is your money on – Boris or Jeremy? Over the past few weeks we’ve seen them every day, but how can we be sure we’re seeing the real person?

I would argue that most of our leaders are invisible. In the past decade they have been driven underground and their true vision or self doesn’t emerge in the public eye.

It’s not surprising. Since the economic crash of 2007 there has been a growing clamour for evidence of more ethical behaviour among leaders in both the public and private arenas. The public demand overt displays of responsibility, governance and ethical behaviour to prove that things have changed.

Leadership comes from within and, separate from their organisations and the ethical and societal responsibilities any leader holds, leaders need to stand for something others can believe in.

The best leaders are mentors; they understand their role includes nurturing and developing others. Is it possible to grow ethical leaders?

Research tells us there is a link between good leadership and a leader’s moral and/or ethical codes. We assume leaders have thought about the ethical consequences of their decisions and that they are socially responsible, but our assumptions are largely untested.

Perhaps it’s time we moved away from authenticity and towards ethicality as the focus of leadership.
I’d argue:
- If leadership matters, professionalise it and make continuing professional development compulsory.
- Make our leaders mentor others and work more with ‘ordinary people’ – going back to ‘the floor’ helps ground people.
- Make executive coaching compulsory – teach tomorrow’s leaders how to be ethical leaders.
- Ensure power comes with a sell-by date – limiting time in office prevents people from staying too long and losing credibility.
- And finally, teach stewardship. Train leaders to understand the significance and responsibilities of the role. Doing so might help remove narcissism and engender a more values-based future for leaders.

By Dr James McCalman, Professor of Leadership Studies at the University of Portsmouth

‘Serial returners’ becoming a problem for retailers

If you’re planning to hit the sales this Black Friday, you might also want to plan a second trip to return your gifts! 

Last year more than one in five of us bought something on Black Friday or Cyber Monday that we later regretted. As we now consider the ability to return any purchase a consumer right, the rise of ‘serial returning’ is becoming a problem for many retailers.

Lecturers at the University of Portsmouth are working with large retailers to look at these problems and better understand the ‘serial returner’. To find out more please email businesstalk@port.ac.uk or call 023 9284 4488

#BusinessTalk: Twitter, be part of the conversation

To its fans, Twitter is a way of keeping updated. To its sceptics, it is a world of trivial 'celeb-dom' and a place for individuals to blow their own trumpet.

Come and make up your own mind at a #BusinessTalk by David Wilding, Director of Planning at Twitter UK, and Dr Dan Nunan, Head of Marketing and Sales at the University of Portsmouth on Wednesday December 4. Visit www.port.ac.uk/events to book your place.