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Developing leadership power

By Dr Jacquie Drake

Trust used to come with a senior job title. It was part of the ordinary package like a salary and pension. 

But trust in the authority of business leaders has eroded and keeps on eroding – just as it has for other traditional pillars like the bank manager, the headteacher and the police chief – to a point where creating and keeping hold of trust has become one of the biggest challenges for both new and established leaders. Why is it so important? Because leadership depends on relationships and relationships are built on trust.

When we listen to the experiences of managers coming to Cranfield we hear all about the resulting pressures: a more frequent questioning of authority, less certainty, less engagement, and more time needed for untangling a mess of roles and responsibilities.
The Developing Leadership Practice programme is geared towards rebuilding that
all-important trust and clarity – giving back to leaders their sense of trust in themselves, and ensuring the basis of trust in their line reports. It’s a reset button

Where the uncertainty is coming from?

The shift towards less hierarchical, ‘command-and-control’ organisations has been a long-term trend, and a most welcome development for most employees. But within this context there have been new developments that present particular problems.
Managers talk, perhaps more than anything else, about the challenges of dealing with teams of ‘millennials’ – the twentysomethings and employees in their early thirties sometimes referred to as ‘Generation Me’ because of their perceived sense of ‘entitlement’. The graduate millennials are seen as constantly pushing for feedback and development, with a ready claim to regular promotions and a more flexible working day; while the less qualified millennials can feel disheartened and are difficult to motivate.
Developing leadership practice

About the Author
Dr Jacquie Drake is a Visiting Fellow at Cranfield School of Management where, until the close of the 2007 academic year, she was Executive Director of The Praxis Centre and also co-founder. She has been a faculty member at Cranfield for 25 years in the field of Organisational Behaviour. She is Programme Director of our Developing Leadership Practice open programme.

Tags: leadership, article, organisational behaviour