Leadership has taken a beating this millennium. Soon after the dawn of the 21st century, executives of American-energy giant Enron were found to have orchestrated one of the biggest frauds of all time, igniting investigations into a string of similar cases.
Fast-forward a few years, and the Western banking sector – echoing the recklessness of Gordon Gekko in the 1987 film Wall Street – plunged the global economy into the abyss of an extended financial crisis. Meanwhile, business and political leaders have spectacularly failed to meet expectations during these testing times.
No sphere of public life has been spared by this apparent collapse in leadership credibility. Even Catholic church leaders have been found to have abused their positions of trust in the most heinous ways.
And Rupert Murdoch’s global media empire was exposed as being led – in Britain at least – by chiefs so unscrupulous that the Australian media mogul himself had to beg the forgiveness of the parents of a murdered British schoolgirl. Why? The victim’s mobile phone was hacked by Murdoch’s news hounds, on orders from up high – while the homicide investigation was still in its crucial early days.
Thus far, it’s been a lamentable era for leadership. Indeed, in so many respects, leadership now appears to have morphed into something with the whiff of sordidness rather than veneration, much less respect. What better time then to reboot and reexamine the concept?
Extensively rewriting and updating the Credibility text that they wrote in the early 1990s, and building on research and findings from their ground-breaking The Leadership Challenge (which came out in 1996), Dr Barry Posner and James Kouzes explore in this revised Credibility the issue of leadership with verve and insight.
They determine many things here, among them, that leadership is, above all, a relationship. And as with all relationships, credibility is a central pillar. Leaders, they posit, must “say what they mean and mean what they say.” In other words, they ought to behave in a mindful way.
This lavishly revised issue – substantially updated since its initial publication in 1993 – features new case studies from around the world, and fresh data and research. Moreover, it is attrac