This is your first assessed task. It gives you the opportunity to link leadership theory and practice. It is also an opportunity to evaluate leadership in a specific context.
Your task is – evaluate the leadership of the then UK Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, in response to the terrorist attack in 2005. Aim to write about 500 words.
Try to undertake further study beyond the original stimulus material (the video interview of Charles Clarke, and the transcript). You could use the Keith Grint book, so that your thoughts are placed within theoretical perspectives. You may, for example, start to think about tame and wicked problems, a distinction featured in Grint’s book, and also in the article he published in 2005. The article also touches on the Cuban Missile Crisis and on the July 2005 terrorist attack in London.
You can access the readings from the Reading List link in the Quick Access block.
You may want to think about the collaborative, adaptive aspects of Charles Clarke’s leadership in a moment of crisis.
* Why did he bring other stakeholders into a decision-making process which was, ultimately, his? He was, after all, going to get judged on results.
* Was Charles Clarke’s leadership a reaction to the situation, or were there proactive elements to it, too?
* Can we regard this particular example of leadership as an example of what Keith Grint calls a ‘wicked problem’ (Grint 2010, pp15-21)?
Assignment: A subsequent analysis of the attack stated, ‘the flexibility of London’s protocols for interagency coordination helped minimize major problems in emergency coordination. London officials had established relationships with one another and had practiced agreed-upon procedures. Consequently, a command and control system was up and running quickly, there was limited confusion about agencies’ roles and responsibilities, and a unified message was delivered to the media’ (Strom & Everman 2009).
We end this week with two quotes from an article on adaptive leadership by Heifetz and Linsky (2002):
‘Any military officer knows the importance of maintaining the capacity for reflection, especially in the “fog of war.” Great athletes must simultaneously play the game and observe it as a whole. We call this skill “getting off the dance floor and going to the balcony,” an image that captures the mental activity of stepping back from the action and asking, “What’s really going on here?”’
‘Leadership is an improvisational art. You may be guided by an overarching vision, clear values, and a strategic plan, but what you actually do from moment to moment cannot be scripted. You must respond as events unfold. To use our metaphor, you have to move back and forth from the balcony to the dance floor, over and over again…’
Watch Dr Michael Flavin interview the former UK Home Secretary, Charles Clarke.
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