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The perfect leader?

Featured in the First-time Leadership training manual

By Clare Llewellyn West

Category: Leadership

Credit price: 3 download credits (Single user)

This activity grew out of a comment made by one of my management trainees. We had been discussing disciplinary issues and the kind of behaviour which is or is not acceptable in organisations and she suddenly said, with a heartfelt sigh, ‘The trouble is that we are expected to be perfect!’ Her words clearly touched a chord and we spent some time discussing the issue. This activity was the outcome. One of the expectations some people have of leaders is that they should be perfect. Like many extreme statements this holds some grains of truth. Leaders are expected to set a good example, to be a role-model to their followers. Leaders also destroy their own credibility if they work on the principle of ‘do as I say, not as I do’. However, there is a balance to be struck; the aim is to be a role-model not a superhero. This activity looks at the pros and cons of the idea of the perfect leader, and looks for that point of balance. It then moves on to challenge the participants to identify where they could be a bit closer to perfection.

You ask the participants to work in small groups to consider whether leaders should be perfect. After sharing their views, they go on to summarise when the right answer is YES and when it is NO. Finally, they carry out a self-assessment exercise and consider one or two areas where they could improve their leadership behaviour.

Who is it for: This training activity is intended for use by trainers to help participants explore how leaders should behave, considering the balance between being perfect and being human, and addressing some of the weaknesses.

Resource Type:Activity
Min Group Size:4
Max Group Size:20
Typical Duration:01:00:00
No of Pages:12

Resources: View standard resources for Fenman training activities

Purpose: This training activity is intended for use by trainers with participants as an element of the process of raising self-awareness and the understanding of their role which is valuable to all new leaders. It makes a good ice-breaker or bridge between longer sessions. The action plan could provide a set of personal objectives for self-development. It is also a good introduction to the interpersonal aspects of leadership. The activity is also useful to clarify a group’s thinking if the issue of having to present a perfect front arises during other sessions – for example, during a discussion of their disciplinary role or when talking about dealing with difficult colleagues.

Download the training activity, The perfect leader? as featured in the Fenman training manual; First-time Leadership