Leaders in Transition: the dramas of ordinary heroes (Chapter 1)

In association with
28th Sep 2004

An international, four year research study backed by Ashridge and Groupe HEC in France explodes many of the myths that surround modern management thinking about what makes new leaders successful. Using an innovative "fly on the wall" research method, a research team lived alongside leaders - and the people around them – in a range of organisations across Europe, for periods of up to two years. The researchers' discoveries will be of keen interest to leaders and their colleagues as well as for those who recruit and develop new leaders.

The report tells the stories of eight leaders and the changes they and the people around them went through. It shows them, "warts and all", battling with the real life challenges of organisational life today, when they stumbled and when they succeeded.

It was observed that leadership changes are like personal transitions – an upside down time of great uncertainty and anxiety. Just as changing relationships or switching jobs is stressful for an individual, so the change of leader triggers anxiety for both the leaders and people around him/her. An old order of status, roles and working relationships dies and a new one is born.


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