You can't dictate leadership

11th June 2004 at 01:00
Rather than complaining about the multitude of ideas and complexities, and then producing her own simplified version of the "baloney" on leadership, Jane Phillips, "Leaders need to be loved" (TES, May 28), might celebrate and value the need for professional discussion, adaptation to different contexts, and the development of our individual and collective understanding of such an important set of concepts.

Simplistic opinion using selective evidence, such as great "military leaders are loved" (some are and some are not, surely?), is a useful contribution, but hardly suffices as the basis of developing effective practice.

So let us not dumb down the debate between different versions of leadership and suggest that there might only be one view. Let us celebrate our continuing need for developing ideas, language and expression about such a complex practical idea like leadership. Let us believe in the capacity of leaders to analyse, evaluate and synthesise this discussion and apply it to the context. Let us not complain about "competing theories" - I don't think our brains really are hurting yet!

Dr Ian Terrell 5 Mayhew Close Chingford London E4

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