Leadership, says the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), is one of three enablers of sustainable organisation performance. It is thus a key theme in its Shaping the Future interim report, "Sustainable Organisation Performance: What Really Makes the Difference," published in January 2010.
The report identifies leadership as being responsible for:
- Vision and values: communication of the bigger picture, making the vision and values real for all.
- Senior management capability: role modelling and empowering others.
- Line management capability: support and help for employees through change.
Nothing new or earth shattering there then, is there? Nor does the report give any insight into how to enhance leadership or make the communication of the vision and values any easier. This is very disappointing if you are looking for solutions.
This shortcoming is most likely due to the constraints of the format which is a series of case studies looking at organisations as they go through the process of implementing organisational change. So it is hardly surprising that there is nothing new forthcoming. It is highly debatable whether any organisation pioneering new approaches would be willing to open its doors during such an initiative.
Thus there is no suggestion that employee ownership might be the best way of spreading vision and values through an organisation. This is very disappointing when the report acknowledges shared purpose and distributed leadership as 2 essential components of their identified enablers. Employee ownership makes the employees co-owners of the business and so builds in shared purpose, which in turn provides the framework for creating the vision and establishing the values and making them "real for all." And thus for creating better employee engagement.
Indeed I would suggest there is no better way. Employee ownership makes leadership so much easier because, it helps makes the vision and values part of the fabric of the organisation. This makes leadership less dependent on the charisma or personality of the person at the top.