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What makes a good leader?

Few HR topics have been as hotly debated or contested over the years as 'what makes a good leader?' Thinking on leadership has changed considerably over the years, but are we any closer to discovering how to foster the leaders of the future?

It's long been recognised that leadership skills are of critical importance in a recession. A strong leadership which sets clear objectives and develops effective strategies for achieving them can be the key to getting an organisation through a downturn and preparing the foundations for recovery.

In Leadership: All You Need to Know, published this month, leadership experts David Pendleton and Adrian Furnham examine the time-old debate on leadership in the context of the modern workplace and today's management styles. With old-fashioned 'command and control' styles of management increasingly becoming a thing of the past, Pendleton and Furnham conclude that that the key to modern leadership is 'knowing yourself, recognising your strengths and weaknesses, working the strengths hard and bringing in people who can support your weaker areas.'

Research conducted by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) has shown that there is no 'one-size-fits-all' formula for successful leadership. Good leaders may behave very differently to one another in similar situations, and different circumstances may call for very different leadership qualities and approaches. It's worth remembering too that leadership skills are required at all levels of an organisation, and not just at the top. Team leaders, front-line managers and supervisors all need to hone different types of leadership skills which can be critical to business success.

Identifying and developing leaders can be a challenge for any organisation. Acas runs practical training courses for managers and supervisors and provides guidance to help senior managers get the best out of their front line managers.

Visit the Acas training and business solutions area for more information.

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