Event Supporter Session 1: Open University


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  • Significant differences:Alliance-building, NZ and AU both different from UKPersonal advantage, NZ and AU both different from UKTurf protecting, NZ and AU both different from UKScanning environment, NZ and AU both different from UKReconciliation of different interests, AU different from UK
  • Event Supporter Session 1: Open University

    1. 1. Lead to succeed Jean Hartley Professor of Public Leadership Open University NHS Scotland conference June 2013
    2. 2. Aims of this session • To consider the current context of public services, as the starting point to understand leadership • To examine leadership with political astuteness as a way to address collaboration across interests which are sometimes aligned but sometimes competing • To reflect on when and how political astuteness fosters effective leadership and engagement with the workforce and other stakeholders
    3. 3. Tough times in Europe and the USA • Global financial crisis • Triple-dip recession…. Economic depression • Families and communities under stress • Increase in coercive, bullying and blaming cultures in some workplaces • High unemployment and under-employment • Health and social care challenges due to an ageing population, with chronic illness etc • Climate change • Loss of trust in professions, politicians and institutions • Loss of hope and sense of direction in society
    4. 4. 5
    5. 5. The leadership challenges • The crucial distinction between „tame‟ and „wicked‟ problems (Rittell and Webber, 1973; Grint, 2000; Hartley and Benington, 2010) • Tame problems – complicated but resolvable; likely to have occurred before; agreed approaches to address. Leadership role is provide processes and resources to solve the problem • Wicked problems – complex, interconnected with other problems; lack of agreement over problem or how to tackle it. Leadership role – ask the right questions and get the right stakeholders involved.
    6. 6. What do we mean by leadership?  Person  Position  Process  Performance  Projection
    7. 7.  Leadership – not solely about people in particular positions or their qualities but about the mobilising of the attention, resources and practices of others towards particular goals, values and outcomes.
    8. 8. What counts as successful leadership? • Public leadership is often controversial and contested, and with (at any point) the full glare of publicity • Multiple and complex goals – and many “wicked” problems • Is successful leadership where goals have been met? Where public value has been created? Where the next generation of leadership is created? • Who decides on what is success? Over what time- frame? • Attributions can vary
    9. 9. Collaboration to achieve quality in healthcare • Collaboration is important in the context of wicked problems (complex, not clear about cause or solution to problems, may not have been encountered before) • But collaboration is not easy, and it is not just about finding common „win-win‟ approaches, sometimes there are conflicts which have to be resolved between collaboration partners • And sometimes partners and other stakeholders do not want to collaborate • So political astuteness is a critical skill for leadership
    10. 10. Political astuteness political intelligence „Metis‟ savvyPolitical antennae
    11. 11. 5 KEY QUESTIONS TO EXPLORE What are the situations in which leaders use political awareness skills in their jobs? What do we mean by politics in the workplace? What are the key components of the skills of political awareness? How do leaders acquire and develop their political skills?  Can public servants lead with too much political astuteness?
    12. 12. Three research projects: 1) UK on managers across all sectors Joint research with the Chartered Management Institute (UK professional body for managers) Literature review – Managing with political awareness Hartley and Branicki, 2006 3 focus groups (London, Birmingham, Cardiff) – 41 senior managers National survey of senior managers, n= 1,495 12 interviews Review by Steering Board Report: Leading with political awareness (2007), launched at the House of Lords. Journal papers and book chapters. Co-authors: Jean Hartley, Clive Fletcher, Christoph Ungemach, Petra Wilton and Patrick Woodman
    13. 13. 2) UK, Australia, New Zealand with public managers
    14. 14. 3 country study • 1012 responses to the survey • 42 interviews with very senior, senior and middle ranking public servants across UK, Oz and NZ • Co-authors: John Alford (Melbourne) Owen Hughes (RMIT), Sophie Yates (ANZSOG); • Report to be published in August. Also journal papers and a book chapter in press.
    15. 15. 3) Research on close working by senior civil servants with elected (and appointed) politicians • 17 interviews with Permanent Secretaries in central and devolved government, and chief executives in local government in all 4 countries of UK • Leading with political astuteness in daily working with elected politicians • Report “Dancing on Ice” being published in July by Stella Manzie and Jean Hartley
    16. 16. THE CHALLENGE Managers and leaders increasingly have to work with a range of stakeholders outside as well as inside the organization Strategic alliances and formal partnerships Commissioned or contracted out services run by agencies or contractors Lobby and advocacy groups Professional and trade union groups Regulators Global governance institutions The media Formal political institutions (e.g. local councils, Scottish Parliament, Westminster government, EU) And so on
    17. 17. Leading with political astuteness for managers “Greater priority needs to be given to developing leaders with the capacity to manage the political dimension. They need an ability to see and communicate the big picture, make connections, be credible with different groups and broker relevant political and strategic relationships.” (Charlesworth et al, 2003)
    18. 18. “Political skills cannot be viewed as the domain of the specialist, but as a mainstream element of leadership needed across all sectors” (Sir David Varney)
    19. 19. Improving leadership theory Traditional leadership theory emphasises: Leading a single organization rather than leading in a network of organizations and stakeholders A leader has formal authority over those they lead rather than sometimes only influence Assumes leader‟s role is to bring everyone on board, rather than lead in conditions of diverse, and sometimes competing, interests Leader‟s control over the boundaries of the organization rather than porous boundaries with influence on your organization Leading with political astuteness breaks out of these traditional assumptions
    20. 20. What is meant by politics in the workplace?
    21. 21. The literature – traditional and emergent perspectives in management From the management literature: Early view - politics no place in management Politics as the pursuit of self interest („politicking‟) Politics as a means to gain market share – „turf wars‟ From the political science literature: Politics as a public mechanism for distribution of resources Politics in the pursuit of common purposes, and reconciling differences Politics to align objectives; building sufficient consensus for action
    22. 22. Leadership with political astuteness Newer perspectives on politics in the management field eg Baddeley and James, Butcher and Clarke, Hartley and Fletcher, Hartley and Alford “Leadership both inside and outside the organization, based on working with diverse and sometimes competing interests and agendas from a range of stakeholders, to achieve organizational and social outcomes.” (Hartley and Fletcher, 2008) The self-interested aspects of political awareness – sometimes called the „dark side‟ of politics - remain a reality
    23. 23. UK survey data – “what do you understand by politics in your work as a manager” (up to 3 responses per person) Alliance-building to achieve organizational objectives 59% Formal processes and institutions of government 40% Ways in which different interests are reconciled 39% Scanning factors in external environment that organization needs to consider 38% People „protecting their turf‟ 31% Pursuit of personal advantage 21%
    24. 24. Comparative analysis: Public servants Australia, New Zealand, UK (n = 1012)
    25. 25. Interviews (ANZUK study) • P08 (senior manager, AU): “[Politics is] primarily about mobilising support for a course of action. Now that might be support within the organisation, that is not people that you either work for or work for you directly necessarily, but that broader base of support. It could be mobilising support in political office.” • P06 (senior manager, AU) “it’s about how in fact you engage with those stakeholders in order to achieve what you’re trying to achieve for the organisation as a whole in support of what community objectives are.”
    26. 26. UK Survey data – Situations where political skills most applied (15 choices) (% saying valuable or very valuable) Working with influential people in your organization 76% Working with partners and strategic alliances 73% Thinking about how public opinion has an impact on your organization 68% Working with regional or local government 62% Influencing regulation in your sector 62%
    27. 27. George Eliot‟s view of politics in Felix Holt “Fancy what a game of chess would be if all the chessmen had passion and intellects, more or less small and cunning; if you were not only uncertain about your adversary‟s means, but a little uncertain about your own; if your knight could shuffle himself on to a new square by the sly; if your bishop, in disgust at your castling, could wheedle your pawns out of their places; and if your pawns, hating you because they are pawns, could make away with their appointed posts that you might get checkmate on a sudden…….
    28. 28. Felix Holt (cont’d) …..You might be the longest-headed of deductive reasoners, and you might be beaten by your own pawns. You would be especially likely to be beaten, if you depended arrogantly on your mathematical imagination, and regarded your passionate pieces with contempt.”
    29. 29. What are the key components of skill Warwick developed and validated a model of the key skills of leadership with political astuteness (now available as a diagnostic tool) 50 items in a measure of political astuteness as practised by middle and senior managers Asked people to rate themselves – and the most senior managers in their organization they worked with
    30. 30. A skills framework Strategic Direction and Scanning Reading People and Situations Building Alignment and Alliances Interpersonal Skills Personal Skills
    31. 31. 4.18 4.17 3.98 3.92 3.98 4.043.54 3.59 3.95 3.56 3.68 3.66 0 1 2 3 4 5 Personal skills Interpersonal skills Reading people and situations Building alignment and alliances Strategic direction and scanning OVERALL Self – mean score Others – mean score self and other ratings on the five dimensions and the total score
    32. 32. 3.99 3.6 3.7 3.7 3.7 4.2 4.2 4 4 4 4.3 4.3 4.1 4.1 4.2 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 5 Personal Interpersonal People& Situations Alignment& alliances Strategic direction Middle Mgrs Senior Mgrs Directors Differences in political skills ratings by managerial level
    33. 33. 4.18 4.12 3.96 3.92 3.994.16 4.22 3.99 3.93 3.91 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 5 Personal Interpersonal People&Situations Alignment& alliances Strategicdirection Male Female Political skill scores by gender
    34. 34. How did you develop your own political skills? What have been the events, experiences, courses, etc (inside or outside your organization) which have been most important to you in developing your own political skills?
    35. 35. Survey data – Top sources of developing political skills (% very or extremely valuable; 24 possible sources) Learning from own mistakes 88% Gaining experience in the job 86% Handling crises 85% Good example of senior manager 77% Bad example of a senior manager 70% Working with other organizations 67%
    36. 36. Experiential learning is particularly important “I think it’s very much a living thing. I don’t feel I’ve learnt a huge amount from reading textbooks, I’ve learnt it from people, watching them, observing them, and I suppose just life experience.” (business development manager, facilities management company)  “I talk a lot with my boss, who is very developmental. We talk about what happened in meetings and I ask why did you do this, why not that, and it really helps.” (Local government manager).
    37. 37. Key recommendations for development, given scarcity of current routes Individual managers – Increase exposure to politically complex situations – Reflection/observation skills – Coaching and mentoring from a politically astute angle Organisations – Audit political context/skills – Create climate for experiential learning Professional bodies / training providers – Use a political astuteness skills framework – Use the CMI self-assessment and 360 assessment instrument
    38. 38. Can public servants lead with too much political astuteness? What are the limits of political astuteness – in ethical terms, in effectiveness terms? • Interviewees reported that some colleagues got too close to ministers, or were „game-playing‟, or were not seen as trustworthy • But also that too little political astuteness was problematic – not seeing the interests of others
    39. 39. Public servants reported: • Reviewing the political context with their close team • Using a coach to reflect on ethics and politics • Being reflexive as a habit of mind • Checking that their actions would be explainable to family, or the media • Reflecting on codes of conduct They used their political astuteness to check that they were not being too politically astute. “It’s the very air we breathe” (AU)
    40. 40. Limits to leadership with political astuteness Acceptable Political Astuteness Too Compliant to the politician being served: not independent enough Too rigidly promulgating formal boundaries without reflecting appropriate political astuteness Not political enough: Professional expertise without political astuteness Not professional enough: political astuteness without technical expertise
    41. 41. Conclusions There is an increasing recognition that political astuteness is a key skill for leaders/managers as they lead in situations with diverse interests in a dynamic context This research represents the first major mapping of the contexts and skills Development routes are haphazard and often painful – we can do more to make explicit the skills and help people acquire these skills
    42. 42. Further information and papers: Jean Hartley Professor of Public Leadership Department of Public Leadership & Social Enterprise Open University Business School Open University Walton Hall Milton Keynes MK7 6AA jean.hartley@open.ac.uk www.open.ac.uk