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07 Jun, 2011 – one comment

the modern test of leadership

It’s not typically the wickedness of leaders (or of boards, for that matter) that gets companies into trouble. It’s their failure to effectively manage the wickedness of the problems they face — problems that resist obvious solutions. Wicked problems are being tossed up by the exploding complexity of our modern world — complexity originating from the increasing interconnectedness of everything we do. Not only are there more of these problems, but the degree of their wickedness is increasing. The race is on between the complexity that is confronting organizations and their ability to respond to it. Leaders are behind and need to catch up.

- The Wickedness Behind Most 21st-Century Leadership Failures, by Ted Casby (at HBR)

Connectedness begets complexity – and complexity confounds our typical understanding of control, predictability, and reasoning. Successful modern leaders must embrace complexity instead of brushing it under the rug. Complexity is the modern test of leadership in a more connected world.

One Comment

  1. Shawna Rose Brown
    Shawna Rose Brown June 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm .

    I agree that leaders are not inherently wicked. However, I do believe that when faced with a compromising situation, many leaders are afraid to face the conflict head on, which only adds to the evilness of the problem and the leader’s fear is misinterpreted as immorality or this evilness that you describe. So yes, I do agree that our leaders are falling behind, especially in authenticity and knowing themselves. Many of them seem to lack the confidence to deal with complex and sensitive situations that require a firm opinion and decisive action.

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