Effective Leadership

Effective leaders typically enact two roles, a charismatic role and an architectural role. Our research focuses on the challenges successful leaders face in contemporary organisations and highlights that, to succeed in a leadership role, the capacity to self reflect is essential.

The CEO Whisperer: Meditations on Leadership, Life, and Change

The CEO Whisperer: Meditations on Leadership, Life, and Change

At this critical junction in the history of humankind, leaders that are proficient in magical thinking aren’t going to solve our problems. Creating alternative realities is not the answer. We need a very different kind of leadership―leaders who can resist the calls of regression and whose outlook is firmly based in reality. We need leaders who analyse and draw conclusions from, or use their own experiences as a development tool, face their strengths and weaknesses, and critique their own experiences in order to build new understandings.

The Palgrave Kets de Vries Library, Nov 2020

Books

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a reminder that democracies are very fragile configurations

Let’s Install Leaders for Life! Why Get Hung up on Democracy? A Modest, “Swiftian” Proposal

Following Jonathan Swift’s satirical example of a “modest” proposal, this paradoxical article examines the question of having leaders for life. Throughout, it employs the tools of satire to outline the presumed advantages of a leaders-for-life system, revealing that, in reality, it is fraught with danger. In a circuitous way, the article makes clear that having leaders for life is an invitation for social unrest and economic decline. By presenting a number of examples of leaders for life, it becomes clear that the overriding concern is the ever-present danger of the abuse of power. Without the existence of term limits, there will be an increased prevalence of rights abuses, secret or arbitrary arrests and detentions, restrictions on freedom of expression, and police brutality. Furthermore, it is suggested that kleptocratic practices are par for the course.

INSEAD Knowledge, Jul 2020

Working Papers

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Good leadership requires self-aware and vulnerable leaders

Why the World Needs Self-Reflective Leaders

The coronavirus crisis facilitates the rise of autocratic and narcissistic leaders just when we least need them.

 

When asked what the post-Covid world might look like, French author Michel Houellebecq said, “The same – only worse.” While the quip is funny on the surface, there is indeed reason for all of us to wonder where the world is headed.

 

 

INSEAD Knowledge, Jul 2020

Blogs

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Five key lessons for entrepreneurs and leadership

5 Lessons for Impactful Leadership

As an organisation, the Virgin Group has been of great interest to the public and business experts worldwide, especially given Richard Branson’s creative leadership style in running and growing the enterprise. We dive into Professor Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries and Robert Dick’s case titled, “Branson’s Virgin: The Coming of Age of a Counter-Cultural Enterprise,” and explore five key lessons for entrepreneurs and leadership.

 

 

INSEAD Knowledge, Jul 2020

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Journeys into Coronavirus Land: Lessons from a pandemic

Journeys into Coronavirus Land: Lessons from a pandemic

Our journey together through the pandemic can lead us down a path of division or a more hopeful path of mutual responsibility, reconciliation and true renewal, ensuring healthier organisations and a better society for our children and future generations. In his latest book Journeys through Coronavirus Land, Manfred Kets de Vries takes us through his ruminations during confinement, widening his explorations into group phenomenon, leadership and organisational dynamics and economic and environmental crisis. The central question is, how have each of us responded to this adversity and where will this journey lead us, individually and collectively?

 

This book is available as a free download. A donation to Unicef Save Generation Covid i strongly encouraged..

Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries, Jul 2020

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Patience is one of the more difficult challenges of being human

How Leaders Can Cultivate Patience in an Impatient World

Nine ways to develop this important “muscle” and reap its mental health benefits.

INSEAD Knowledge, Jul 2020

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Organisational Resilience / Journal of Insights

Organisational Resilience / Journal of Insights

My hope is that leaders who face stark challenges do not sit alone with an impending sense of doom, do not succumb to pressure to act without reflection, but instead reach out for support, creative solutions and meaning. 

KDVI Writer's Colony, Apr 2020

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Uncertainty of Coronavirus impacts business and household alike

Leading in Difficult Times

The massive uncertainty created by the present global Coronavirus turmoil impacts every business and every household in America and around the world. Many indicators point to an extended pandemic. And it’s a certainty that this will be seen as one of those cathartic transitions which will have consequences long after it is all over.

KDVI Writer's Colony, Mar 2020

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When is it appropriate to share decision-making power as a leader?

A Leadership Paradox - How leaders can gain more influence by letting go of some decision power

Leaders shape their organisation through the decisions they take; it is one of the main expressions of their power. In fact, it can be seen as their main role. In this blog, Christopher explores how leaders can overcome the binary top-down/bottom-up perspective to leadership and decision-making.

KDVI Research Lab, Dec 2018

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"Adversity to develop endurance, courage and character"

Developing Leaders Through Adversity

In the perfect storm our world is currently experiencing, we need to develop leaders with character, people who can deal with complex and difficult situations and act as forces for good. Adversity is one way to develop endurance, courage and character. Without it, we do not really know what we are all about, nor do we appreciate the limits of our character.

INSEAD Knowledge, Jun 2017

Blogs

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"Playing the fool in the workplace"

Why Every Workplace Needs a Fool

Office tricksters tell it like it is and contribute to creative growth.

INSEAD Knowledge, Feb 2017

Blogs

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"Leadership in the age of rage"

Reflective Leaders Needed in the Age of Rage

When collective emotions gather steam, knee jerk reactions can make a bad situation worse.

INSEAD Knowledge, Aug 2016

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"Leadership in a digital age"

Evolving Leadership in the Digital Age

To become more effective and refective leaders, executives need to learn to improve their behavioural reactions to diffucult situations and develop greater emotional intelligence.

The European Business Review, Jul 2016

Articles

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"How to manage brilliant but tumultuous leaders"

Managing Thrill Seekers

Thrill-seeking employees' addiction to risk can create havoc in the workplace. Managed correctly, their fearlessness can be a great advantage to any organisation.

INSEAD Knowledge, Jul 2016

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"Leaders need emotional intelligence to create meaning"

Evolving Leadership in the Digital Age

To have executives change character will always be an uphill struggle but they can learn to improve their behavioural reactions to difficult situations and develop greater emotional intelligence that will turn them into more effective leaders.

INSEAD Knowledge, Apr 2016

Blogs

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Telling Fairy Tales in the Boardroom

Telling Fairy Tales in the Boardroom

In this book Manfred Kets de Vries, one of the world's leading authorities on the psychology of leadership, and a pioneering practitioner in the field of psychodynamic executive coaching, draws on the format of traditional fairy tales and tells us five stories that dramatize five key themes of dysfunctional leadership.

Palgrave Macmillan, Nov 2015

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"HR leaders as catalysts for change"

Lifting Leadership's Game

 Craig Donaldson from Inside HR speaks with Manfred Kets de Vries about the evolution of HR, its role in change and why leaders need to lift their game.

Inside HR, Jul 2015

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"The triumphs and foibles of Alexander the Great"

11 Leadership Lessons from Alexander the Great

This blog entry explores how Alexander the Great shows us some timeless leadership lessons but also some glaring failures.

INSEAD Knowledge, Nov 2014

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Take a look at your strengths and development areas through the eyes of others.

Take a look at yourself in the leadership mirror

Many of today’s leaders lack self-knowledge. They are not very reflective of their actions; they may even suffer from hubris, lacking a sense of humility that allows them to clearly see where their weaknesses lie. Asking others what they think of our actions is not the best way of finding out. People are not always straight-forward and executives may be reluctant to be seen “seeking approval”. The INSEAD Global Leadership Centre has taken the findings of its leadership development work (gleaned over 10 years of leadership coaching), to develop the Global Executive Leadership Mirror (“The Global Mirror”), providing a lens through which executives can take a closer, 360 degree look at their own personal leadership behavior.

INSEAD Knowledge, Oct 2014

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"Self awareness and team effectiveness"

First Know Yourself, Then Your Team

This blog explores how, in order to be truly effective, leaders must first understand the unconscious motivations in themselves, followed by those of the people around them.

INSEAD Knowledge, Aug 2014

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"Forgiveness and the art of reconciliation"

Forgiveness as a Business Tools

This blog entry explores the ability to forgive and the art of reconciliation.

INSEAD Knowledge, Jul 2013

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"Forgiveness as a business tool"

The Art of Forgiveness: Differentiating Transformational Leaders

This working paper explores the subject of forgiveness and its importance in the context of leadership.

INSEAD Working Paper, Apr 2013

Working Papers

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Star Performers

INSEAD Knowledge, Oct 2012

Videos

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"What are the strengths of German managers?"

Was sind die Stärken Deutscher Manager (What are the strengths of German managers?)

Manfred Kets de Vries gives an interview to Germany's Harvard Business Manager, in their special on German Management. 

Harvard Business Manager, Jul 2012

Articles

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"Challenges of managing today's employees"

Leadership Today: An Inward Journey Is leadership born or bred?

Professor of Leadership Development Manfred Kets de Vries and Professor of Organisational Behaviour Michael Jarrett comment on the challenges faced when managing employees today.

INSEAD Knowledge, Apr 2012

Articles

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