Leadership in Network-Dominated Public Sphere

There are many types of leadership: distributed, shared, collective, collaborative, co-leader and emergent. However, regardless of the term used to describe leadership, it still should not be associated with monopoly and liability of only one person: it is better to refer to a broader sense of leadership and collective engagement in social process (Hosking 1998; Barker 2001).

General classes of definition refer to leadership in several dimensions

[1] (Spicker2012):

(a) leadership as motivation and influence—identified as process of influencing people in the activity, group or organisation in endeavours to achieve intended goals,

(b) leadership as set of features of the person: charisma, emotional intelligence,

perseverance, enthusiasm, warmth, honesty, dedication, creativity, generosity, humility and responsibility—within certain status or situation,

(c) leadership as management—however, it does not seem that such position could be accepted, namely that management is leadership in literal sense and referring to the same sense. Leadership refers to changes, complex and new problems, risk, future direction in uncertain conditions, when management alone may regard only administration, effectiveness and efficiency, problems or rather tasks of continuous nature. It seems, that for it to be possible to place any equality mark between leadership and marketing, necessary are people, who will be able to use the leader's features, which will result in effective management,

(d) leadership as authority system—related to organisation system of individual and collective transfer of function or team's collective responsibility. In such sense, the leader needs to be able to adapt to various situations within change of behaviour in the given place and time. Leadership in this sense is associated with leader's relations with members of the group or widely defined society (national and global), which allows building social identity,

(e) leadership as relationships with subordinates—based on such shaping the subordinates, which allows creating groups of followers of leader's thought and modifying the whole behaviour of the group. It is the product of a set of relationships and emerging discussions in the company,

(f) leadership as set of roles—where the leader may be a person, who through own actions as the employee inspires others to act, and earns authority. This way it is possible to set patterns and execute certain results, implementing values or organisational culture style desired in the organisation. The task of leadership in this sense, and in relation to social services, is to achieve intended goals of the groups and network cooperation through use of distribution leadership.

Taking into consideration the fact, that distribution leadership in recent years receives the most attention and interest (apart from shared leadership), is legitimate to give shared leadership distribution framework juxtaposed by Bolden (2011):

(a) spontaneous cooperation,

(b) intuitive working relations,

(c) institutionalized practice (with the formation of teams to facilitate cooperation),

(d) planned alignment—as part of allocation of leadership tasks best suited to individuals and teams,

(e) spontaneous alignment—within unplanned allocations,

(f) anarchic shift—independent realisation of own goals,

(g) official distribution—officially conferred,

(h) pragmatic distribution—distribution of leadership among individuals,

(i) strategic distribution—introducing competent people to a specific type of leadership in the context of the needs,

(j) incremental distribution—the gradual acquisition of leadership,

(k) opportunist distribution—within new here and now challenges

(l) cultural distribution—as part of natural adoption and division between the members of the group,

(m) distribution of cooperation,

(n) collective distribution—in a separate operation and interdependence in leadership,

(o) coordinated distribution—in context of working together.

Here it is important to delegate rights in all levels and dimensions of management. This increases freedom of performing tasks, enhances confidence to act and think as organizational partners, allowing finding oneself in the workplace more effectively and creatively (Chen et al. 2014).

Thus distribution leadership in public sector should receive special recognition—qualitatively is completely different from information leadership. The latter, directed at leader's inspirational motivation, idealised influence, individual approach or intellectual stimulation (Bass 1985), was and is described as one of the greatest motivators of deliberate actions (Wright et al. 2008). Unfortunately, in empirical research transformation leadership does not find unequivocal justification (Kirkpatrick and Locke 1996; Grant 2012; Belle´ 2014). To some degree it contributes to increase in efficiency of work, which means that with use of a selective approach it can also be used in public sector.

Deloitte's report (2010) on leadership in public sector in Great Britain shows, that it should be much better developed at all management levels, taking into account a greater insight into the organization itself, building cognitive skills, using emotional intelligence to motivate subordinates, eliminating barriers preventing the organizational structure to show leadership skills of its individual members see: Leslie and Canwell (2010a, b). For this reason, in public sector organisational myths replaced or supported by current conditions and reality are still alive (Table 4.3).

A surprising summary of male and female leadership was presented by Berg et al. (2012): managers are only humans, who are able to change something, and we should not expect too much from them. And it seems to be the opposite. If someone

Table 4.3 Strengths, myths and reality of leadership in public sector

Durable strengths

Fought myths and their consequences

The practice

Resourceful people

Traditional productive approach is not applicable in public sector, since public sector is:

• Inflexible in responding to changing

priorities—HR departments using the traditional approach to optimization of resources,

• A long list of priorities,

• Realising too many tasks with own means,

• Complicated and ineffective

corporate governance and accountability structure,

• “Burden”—15 % of staff with performance below average,

• Limited by procedures and aversion to risk-taking.

• Lack of responsibility despite its bureaucratic definition;

• The degree of outsourcing is still high within a portfolio of projects while own employees are also engaged in those projects (double remuneration for the same job);

• Asymmetry of work efficiency and

shifting it to the most hard-working individuals;

• Staff policy adjusted to the needs of

party politics.

Investing in human capital

From the public sector business skills at the level of commercial companies cannot be expected:

• Acceptance of poor management and results of commercial and outsourced activities,

• Negligent approach to outsourced

activities in detachment from market reality or own set priorities,

• Lack of understanding of own actions in management hierarchy,

• Many managers, but too few leaders at all levels of management,

• Outstanding individuals engaged in political games and “politics” instead of work, which brings effect,

• Prefers complex solutions to simple, standardized and practical ones.

• Inability of application of commercial practices, often accompanied by lack of understanding of what public service is

• Considerable fluctuations in the staff and merely apparent treatment of the intellectual capital as the most precious resource;

• Promotion is frequently impossible despite fulfilment of formal criteria

• Lack of incentives regarding pay flexibility and the conditions of employment for the best employees (which results in individuals leaving the public sector and difficulty in attracting talented ones)

Motivated people

Necessary actions are clear, but the system will not allow them to be realized:

• Pigeonhole approach to thinking about work and its execution,

• Duplication of offices and functions,

• Rare resignation from undertaken initiatives –problem of prioritizing,

• Aversion to risk-taking, excessive


• Exaggerated tendency to spend and rigid budgets,

• Parent-child relationship between

the State Treasury (Ministry of

• Decisions are often contingent upon procrastination and the necessity to take into consideration the contrasting interests of the state and the market,

• Network and interdepartmental cooperation is low;

• Difficulty in exercising real leadership;

• Motivated individuals are

underestimated or overload with timeconsuming work marked by low effectiveness—instead of being promoted;


Table 4.3 (continued)

Durable strengths

Fought myths and their consequences

The practice

Finance) and departments and between the central government and the local government,

• Submissive attitude and overworked managers

Source: own, based on: K. Leslie, A. Canwell 2010, Leadership at all levels: Leading public sector organisations in an age of austerity, European Management Journal, Vol. 28, p. 300. See also: Leadership at all levels. Leading public-sector organisations in an age of austerity, Deloitte 2010, London, p. 4

has become a manager, then more should be expected from him. If someone is not fit for the role, he should simply resign or be dismissed.

Usually leadership in public management has connotations typical for political relations and is associated with the ability to use power and influence (Yukl 2010). Leaders in public administration may and should draw from all inspiring practices, all kinds of organisations, which have succeeded or are successful. Whereas extent of copying those solutions always has to be individually determined or moderated. In this context it is worth proposing a public organisation leadership Decalogue inspired by and based on Silicon Valley leadership Decalogue (Cagan 2014).

(a) change the world through changing the state—by inspiring and passion of your team for strong vision of sustainable development,

(b) know what you cannot know,

(c) know what your domestic and international opponents cannot know,

(d) make the core of your competences discovering and skill of practical implementation of new innovative visions, systemic changes in actions,

(e) create and strengthen purpose and task teams of co-workers (executive level: minister, Secretary of State, Under Secretary of State, along with supplying the institution with human resources and advisory and expert forces, both internal and external),

(f) focus on results, not system solutions,

(g) election program and strategic programs must be implemented with consistency from the first day of exercising authority—it builds commitment, sense of public service, and in particular public trust,

(h) support real cooperation by criticising and draw consequences from apparent and ineffective cooperation,

(i) search for new ad hoc and final solutions for the situation,

(j) care for and promote culture of innovation through broad engagement and supporting subordinates and society.

Leadership is not achieved only through the fact of taking the position in given time. Leadership requires ability to listen, making good and wise judgements under moral compass, inspiring others, and what is most important—persistent pursuit of the goal (Maidique et al. 2014). This means, that the more effective leadership style in a long period is democratic one, as opposed to autocratic, which may increase efficiency, but only for a short time (Bass 2008).

Public sector leader must know that to both global and national stakeholders it does not matter much of how many organisational levels the organisation consist and how the strategy and mission of the organisation are realised. What counts, is which possibilities the organisation has (including state as a whole), how in fact, not declaratively, it reacts to change in social needs and whether it shows ability to innovate (Ulrich and Smallwood 2012).

Top level executive leadership (CEO—Chief Executive Officer) especially in the form of general managers, vice-ministers and Prime Minister should be characterised with six main managerial competences:

(a) Self-awareness—understanding and knowing oneself. Integrity of presented values, honesty towards oneself, trusting own instinct, answering the questions: who am I and who I am not? What are my strengths and weaknesses?

(b) Moral compass—being guided by high standards and norms in making decisions: honesty, reliability, sensibility, trust, confidence. Moral compass should also accompany selected co-workers.

(c) Effective listener—ability to listen is the key ability in developing relationships, solving problems and making decisions.

(d) Good judgement—without good judgement of decisions, situations, events one cannot be a good leader. A significant role here play own personality, presented values and ability of really listening and drawing conclusions.

(e) Convincing visionary and communicator—having a vision is not enough, one needs to communicate it properly—on one hand inspiring, on the other—motivating.

(f) Leading with tenacity—hard, persistent and systematic work, especially in the face of obstacles and failures (Maidique et al. 2014) (where hard work should be associated with consequence of advertised and carried out actions, personal engagement at necessary and desired level and such delegation of decision making privileges, which will ensure efficient realisation of tasks).

Too often the leader is associated with a single leader, one-person hero of individualist approach identified with heroism in times of crisis (Senge 2002). More often leadership can be related to collective learning and acting, the example of which is development of scattered leadership. Still in mid-twentieth century Cecil Gibb wrote, that leadership is a function of a group and its values in achieving the intended goal, and importance should be attributed to the quality of the very group (1947, Gibb 1954a, b, Thorpe et al. 2011). From today's, twenty-first century, perspective it is justified to talk about leadership of global citizen, who acts in global world. Both in the sphere of real national and institutional (especially governmental) economy it leads to systemic change in society through cooperation with others (Gitsham et al. 2012). Thus evolution of the role of leadership developed in business should be some kind of necessary knowledge in public sphere (Gitsham et al. 2012):

(a) the need for a different perception of the leaders and the goals they are facing:

– leaders of each sphere of activity (civil society, business, politics) should cooperate in order to cope with social challenges,

– a key factor in creating value should be solving social problems as a main activity,

– knowledge of the details is crucial for understanding of social processes and allows proper response.

(b) large changes in the industry:

– the need to recognize the trends and their impact on basic activities,

– need to create the conditions for automatic emergence of leadership,

– inspiring and encouraging innovation,

– use of language and symbolism,

– influence on organizational culture,

– creation of appropriate metrics,

– rewarding positive behaviour in the context of ability to recognize what is positive and what is not,

– keeping own beliefs, especially in the face of issues affecting personal interests,

– effective provision of support at any time when necessary.

(c) leading changes outside own core business:

– participation in public debate, obtaining information,

– influencing consumer behaviour change, industries or government policy,

– engagement in dialogue and the problems of other people to be able to understand them from own point of view,

– extensive cooperation with many parties (in different groups of views and spheres of belonging).

In the Worldwide Index of Women (2013) regarding public sector leaders it is rightfully noticed, that it is extremely important who leads the public sector, since this decides each day about millions of people, their welfare and protection of the most vulnerable. However, surprising may be the attempt of forcing access to higher managerial positions under broad women's empowerment campaign. The fact, that woman and man have the same social rights is simply a fact, at least in democratic culture and tradition. The main key of selection cannot thus be a parity, which would decide which percentage of managers should be women and men. That would be a nonsense and artificial paralysis of possibility of effective management. Might as well happen that the government or the management of the ministry (or a state-owned company) would be in majority staffed only by women; however, this may not be due to parity, but due to free and objective will of chief manager/leader of the organization (including state). It is extremely important in politics, where we can find more and more worse sort of celebrities without basic competences and skills, who often are not able to properly form a sentence, not mentioning the reliable performance of assigned tasks. Inappropriate, thus deprived form rationality in judgement, choice of the other person results from the fact, that political leaders have been long using sociotechnics and organised strategies facilitating influencing the public (Jacob 2014) to achieve and keep authority.

It needs to be noticed, that in the G20 group representation of female leaders in public sector is the largest in Canada (45 %), Australia (37 %) and Great Britain (35 %) and the lowest in Saudi Arabia (0 %), Japan (2.5 %) and India (7.7 %). At the same time the share of women in ministerial positions is the largest in South Africa (40 %), Germany (33 %) and Canada (27 %) and the lowest in Saudi Arabia (0 %), Turkey (4 %) and India (10 %). Such vast differences between extreme values result from the fact, that in states leading in share of women in managerial positions the legal parities apply, which are not raised despite the declarative approach of further promotion of equality (Worldwide Index of Women 2013). Of course zero share of women in managerial structures in Saudi Arabia results from cultural conditions and generally applied Islamic law, according to which women have never been equally treated. But even in this country things are changing. In 2009 the government appointed the first women in the rank of deputy minister responsible for education of women, and the fact that the public sector employs 30 % of welleducated women (Islam 2014) may give hope for slow, but necessary changes.

  • [1] Description of leadership in definition classes includes views of such authors as: B. Bass; P. Wright; P. Northhouse; G. Yukl; P. Hersey, K. Blanchard; R. Smollan; A. Morris, C. Brotheridge, J. Urbanski; N. Thomas; W. Bennis; K. Grint; K. Kotter, A. Zaleznik; T. HaffordLetchfield, K. Leonard, N. Begum, N. Chick; M. Alvesson, S. Sveningsson; H. Mintzberg; D. Day,

    P. Gronn, E. Salas; K. Boal, R. Hooijberg; M. Hogg; S. Baker; A. Mehra, B. Smith, A. Dixon, B. Robertson, presented in w: P. Spicker, Leadership: perniciously vague concept, “International Journal of Public Sector Management” 2012, Vol. 25, No. 1, s. 35–36

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