In Praise of the Incomplete Leader: HBR’s 10 Must Read’s on Leadership.  

This article is rightly saying that a leader can’t be all things to all people, that they do not have every skillset or personality trait and that the need for distributed leadership aids to bridge the gap.  Having a team to support a leader, or other management with different strengths helps to make a strong organisation.  The older management style was taxing on the leadership, as they often would do everything themselves.   However the new and suggested leadership style is based on distributed leadership.  Where leaders with the best skills are distributed by location globally and in roles that best suit their strengths.

The data presented also states that corporations have been aware that no single leader can excel in all areas, and a shift in how organisations run their management teams is taking place.  A model of “Distributed Leadership” demonstrates a greater opportunity to use a variety of skills across the business, rather than to focus on one location or manager.

In today’s world, the executive’s job is no longer to command and control but to cultivate and coordinate the actions of others at all levels of the organization. Only when leaders come to see themselves as incomplete—as having both strengths and weaknesses—will they be able to make up for their missing skills by relying on others.” (179)

A greater focus on developing relationship skills in leaders has also taken place, where a manager needs to not just have knowledge and skill but must be personable. The importance of building trusting relationships with colleagues, staff and customers, aid the authenticity and approachability of the leader.  “Executives who are strong in this capability know how to quickly capture the complexities of their environment and explain them to others in simple terms.” (179) As a result an inclusive sense of equality is being created across organisations, aiding overall employee satisfaction and commitment to the business ethos which strengthens the organisation.

The importance of understanding both our strengths and weakness is also highlighted in the article, as good teams thrive on diversity.



Drucker, P., George, B., & Golman, D. (2011). In HBR’s 10 must reads on leadership (p. 179). essay, Harvard Business Review Press.

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