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11 December 2015
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It takes two

By Des Dearlove

This article is part of the Contemporary leadership series

Do we have unrealistic expectations of our corporate and political leaders? This was one of the questions we asked Harvard Business School’s Rosabeth Moss Kanter. Her answer was illuminating.

“Yes. If the expectation is that a single leader can do it all then it is unrealistic. But it is also interesting how much a single leader can set in motion. In turnaround situations it is quite striking how much fresh leadership can accomplish by unlocking talent and potential that was already there in the organisation but was stifled by rules, regulations and bureaucracy."

Des Dearlove is co-founder of the Thinkers50. He is an Associate Fellow of Said Business School at Oxford University; an adjunct professor at IE Business School, where he taught the Strategic Communication Module on the International MBA; and the author of a bestselling study of the leadership style of Richard Branson. He has taught on the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme, and the Swarovski Academy in Switzerland, and teaches media skills and crisis management at Cranfield School of Management.

He is a former columnist to The Times, contributing editor to the American magazine Strategy+Business, and co-editor of the bestselling Financial Times Handbook of Management. His books available in more than 20 languages include Gravy Training and Generation Entrepreneur (co-authored with Stuart Crainer).

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