Leadership is all

In a week when everything is overshadowed by the fate of Speaker Martin (at the time of posting we are still waiting to hear when it is he intends to go) and after what seems an eternity of disclosures about MPs’ expenses (accompanied by an orgy of hand-wringing insincerity), yet another excellent article by Stefan Stern in today’s FT – and for leaders in law firms another pointer,

Does “real leadership” simply mean telling people what to do? Or does leadership mean building consensus, so that when you attempt to make changes your organisation advances more or less as one.

Leadership is situational. In other words, context is everything. Few business leaders find themselves facing a weekly inquisition like PMQs. But in a time of economic difficulty, businesses and organisations do look to their leaders for clarity of thought and decisive action. So which organisations will come through this period in better shape: those where there is less talk and more action, or those where agreement is sought before action is taken?

Stern writes about the recent launch of the Centre for Professional Service Firms at the Cass Business School in London, and reports the comments of Laura Empson, director of the centre : “Professionals, by and large, do not want to be led, and professionals, by and large, do not want to be leaders.”

And this is the real problem.