The book Authentic Leadership (Spiller, C. & Ladkin, D., 2013), that Chellie co-edited with UK based Professor Donnna Ladkin, and for which Rodger contributed a chapter, was selected as one of ten finalists for the University of San Diego’s prestigious Outstanding Leadership Book Award.
This book updates, critiques and extends the theory of authentic leadership in an invaluable way. Rodger's chapter takes the perspective of responsible investors who want to take account of the quality of the leadership of the companies in which they are investing. He describes how knowing to what extent a leader and a business have undertaken a journey of 'inner work' could prove critically valuable in assessing whether to invest with them.
For example, wise investors would investigate whether the leadership development being undertaken includes a focus on really knowing oneself by engaging with others to obtain feedback, identifying changes that will make the biggest difference, then uncovering and overturning big assumptions and immunities to change (Kegan & Lahey, 2009). This approach addresses the critique that authentic leadership literature often fails to take account of social relations, which in itself is hardly surprising given that the practice of seeking feedback rates as the least practised leadership behaviour (Kouzes & Posner, 2012). Most people don’t really want to hear what others think.
Those with the courage to take on feedback then face the sobering reality that most personal and organizational change initiatives fail. It is therefore vitally important for responsible investors to know that leaders are both receiving feedback and effectively changing. In this regard it would be helpful for investors to know that a business is investing in leadership development that places sufficient emphasis on development as this is a major failing of most so called ‘leadership development’ interventions (Kegan & Lahey 2009).
We believe this developmentally focused, results-orientated approach is the optimal training and coaching for businesses to invest in.