Developing Transformational Leadership Capability in the Public Service

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The first issue of Public Administration Today highlighted the tremendous complexity and diversity of issues public sector leaders must manage today. Are current approaches to leadership development adequate to meet this challenge? Our experience would suggest they are not. In spite of sustained efforts in the 1980s and early 1990s to shift from control of inputs to managing for outputs, there is still much emphasis on cost and efficiency rather than effectiveness of interventions to produce results. More recent attempts to shift the focus of managers from outputs to outcomes are proving even more difficult. We anticipate that a further shift from outcomes to value creation will be needed in the future if the Public Service is to maintain its relevance. Perhaps the most dramatic contemporary examples of value destruction through inadequate leadership are the continuing disasters in the rail and hospital systems in NSW. Despite repeated public enquires, recommendations for fundamental systemic changes have not been implemented; suggesting the capacity to lead organisations through the necessary transformations is lacking.

In this article, we first relate our approach to the Integrated Leadership System introduced by the Australian Public Service Commission in 2004. We then briefly describe a developmental theory known as the “Leadership Development Framework” (LDF; Torbert, 2004). Unlike other approaches to development, the LDF is based upon a measurement tool that has been extensively researched and validated over 30 years (Hy & Loevinger, 1996; Manners, 2001). Such a well-validated measure is required to ensure organisational development efforts based on these ideas are appropriate and effective. Throughout the paper, and in the concluding section in particular, we explore the implications of this framework for leadership development in the public sector in Australia.

The Integrated Leadership System: What type of leader is capable of “Shaping Strategic...
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