Leadership skills from the bottom up

Tuesday. Feb 28, 2017 / Simon Hill

We commend the Financial Times for extolling the virtues of Mission Command, something practiced by the British Army for over 30 years.

“Jim Collins’ ideas have shaped leadership thinking for more than two decades. As author of bestsellers such as Good to Great, he introduced managers to “Big Hairy Audacious Goals” — lofty targets to inspire teams to perform better — and laid out how resolute but humble “Level 5 leaders” rose to the top of successful companies.Latterly Mr Collins has looked at leadership from the other end of the telescope. At West Point, the prestigious US military academy, he saw how important it was for young, frontline unit leaders to take responsibility — a “mission command” approach within a wider strategy. Similarly, at schools across the US, he has observed how headteachers acquire and exercise their leadership skills.When he asked companies how their Level 5 chief executives emerged, he found that they often started as unit managers, with a determination to “take what I have responsibility for and make it truly great”. Such leaders paid no attention to their career advancement, the author says in an interview ahead of a rare visit to London this week: “They typically said, ‘I’ve responsibility for this minibus’, and people then asked them to drive bigger and bigger buses until one day they drove the whole business.”The military emphasis on giving frontline commanders autonomy and responsibility is increasingly reflected at large companies.” See the full article at https://www.ft.com/content/0233fb94-d423-11e6-b06b-680c49b4b4c0 


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