Friday, 27 July 2007

TWO TO TANGO

2nd DRAFT
POLITICAL-MANAGEMENT LEADERSHIP:
CREATING GOOD GOVERNMENT

ABSTRACT: For over twenty years the author has been scrutinising relationships between senior politicians and managers by filming them talking to each other about how they work together. The author comments on extracts from these conversations to explain how politicians and managers recognise and negotiate tensions arising from the overlap of their roles, and how, jointly, they draw on the professional base of government to make policy in a complex world. He concludes that the coalescence of politics and management is inevitable, their complete separation maintained as a convenient and confusing fiction by politicians and or managers unwilling or unable to govern. As well as offering a descriptive theory of ‘political-management’ leadership, the author will offer prescriptions for developing skills and values for leadership at the political-management interface. Practitioners are invited to consider whether their working relationship compares to a static and comfortable co-dependency or whether they take part in a tango where the best of politics and management combine to be greater than the sum of the parts.
INTRODUCTION
Through a large part of my career I have been fascinated by political-management working relationships, mainly at the top of local government. I have filmed hours of conversation between senior politicians and senior managers who work together, creating a rich archive for exploring the skills and values of joint leadership by politicians and managers in government (Baddeley and James 1987a, 1987b, 1989, Baddeley 1998, 1992, Baddeley and Wall 1998). I was a member of the 2005 SOLACE∗ Commission on ‘Managing in a Political Environment’ and I work with managers and politicians, jointly and separately, running in-house workshops on ‘political-management working’. My focus is not on managerial leadership – important though that is - but on how politicians and managers between them create and sustain good government...


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