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In Search of Leadership

Patrick Weller, Dennis C. Grube, John Kane, Duncan McDonnell, Jack Corbett, Wouter Veenendaal, Graham Maddox, Xu Yi-chong, Atsushi Takeda, Amanda Hodder, Nycole Prowse, Nike Sulway, Kate Berry, Rae Desmond Jones, Pym Schaare, David Reiter, Noel King, Dulce Maria Menendez

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All leadership is contingent. What works in one institutional setting may not work in another. Within a single institution, what works at one time may be a disaster at another. In times of crisis the demands on national leaders will be very different from those when the principal task is the manipulation of routines, the continuing problems of daily governing. Consequently, there can be no universal formula for successful leadership. We need to determine in each case the broad circumstances in which the leaders must work, the institutional framework that they must manage, the way they gained and hold their positions and the particular events that make demands on their skills. Even then it would be a brave observer who would say with any certainty what the leader should do. They must always balance demands, pressures, ideology and ambition, nearly always within an environment of uncertain facts and unpredictable outcomes. It is easy to develop declaratory leadership axioms: be bold, have a plan, lead from the front. The issue for each case is always how, when, why and to what extent.


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