Leaders don’t fail because they’re technically inept, but because their ethics have fallen by the wayside

- July 10, 2015 2 MIN READ

If their Hollywood portrayals are anything to go by, it’s a widely accepted belief that bankers and other business big wigs are morally corrupt men who are just out for themselves.

The University of Technology Sydney Business School wants to change that with its Self-Leadership Lab, a program originally developed by Professor Emmanuel Josserand for the Executive MBA at the University of Geneva.

The program blends theory, diagnostics, and practice to help participants self-reflect and develop the ability to question assumptions about situations, others, and about themselves, otherwise known as reflexivity. They will learn how to become more aware of their own abilities and values, and will then be taught how to adapt their thinking, communication, and behaviours to achieve their objectives.

Josserand, now director of the Centre for Management and Organisation Studies (CMOS) at UTS, said that reflecting on who they are and what they believe in can help a participant become not only a better manager, but more innovative and creative. 

“I don’t think we can afford to pay the types of salaries we pay for well qualified and experienced people to just execute orders. The key to fostering creativity, to finding new solutions to old problems, is ensuring that staff across the board develop this reflexivity,” Josserand said.

Suzanne Salter, leader of the Self-Leadership Lab, said that while leadership is thought of as the ability to master the external environment, self-leadership takes the view that professional success comes after we develop the ability to understand and master our internal environment: our goals, values, thoughts, emotions, beliefs, moods, motivations, and habits.

“Some of the most crucial skills in life and leadership have to do with how well we can manage this internal environment under ever-changing external circumstances,” Salter said.

“When you look at the biggest failures of corporate executives, they’re not necessarily technical failures but ethical ones.”

She added that the idea of self-leadership resonates strongly with millennials, who are increasingly considering company culture and values when looking for work.

“In truth, the business and personal worlds are merging into on each other. Many of us carry work with us wherever we go and spend more time with colleagues as the workday grows longer and longer. So it makes sense that business schools are turning into places where students want to learn how to be good at life in general.”

The program, which kicks off with an information breakfast later this month, will consist of four small group coaching session and a one on one session.

Image: Professor Emmanuel Josserand. Source: Provided