How Connected Leadership Helps to Create More Agile and Customer-Centric Organizations in Asia

  • Simon HaywardEmail author
  • Barry Freeman
  • Alison Tickner


In the globally connected world in which managers operate, the need for more agility and customer-centric ways of working is well established (Ipsos and Cirrus, 2015). This chapter describes how we have taken research into creating more agility and customer-centricity in the UK and explored its relevance to managers in the context of Asian businesses. The original research identified the six factors of connected leadership which are based on a combination of distributed (and shared) leadership, authentic leadership and complexity leadership theories. The second stage research identified how they are also relevant to the transition of Asian businesses as they become more agile and customer centric in the globally connected twenty-first-century world. We found that approaches to values and authenticity vary culturally, and this is a barrier to confidence in doing business across regions. We also found that the issue of ‘saving face’, prevalent in many Asian markets, is a significant barrier to transforming organizations and this is likely to hold back Asian business transformation if not addressed in a constructive and inclusive way.


Connected Leadership Transition Shared Face 



We would like to acknowledge the support and insight of many people, including our clients across both Europe and Asia, our coaching colleagues and our wider group of colleagues in Cirrus.


  1. Avolio, B., Luthans, F., & Walumbwa, F. (2004). Authentic leadership: Theory building for veritable sustained performance, Nebraska. Working paper: Gallup Leadership Institute, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.Google Scholar
  2. Avolio, B., Walumbwa, F., & Weber, T. (2009). Leadership: current theories, research, and future directions. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 421–449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Badaracco, J. (2001). We don’t need another hero. Harvard Business Review, 79(8), 120–126.Google Scholar
  4. Bersin, J. (2014, November). Leadership in Asia. It’s different. Forbes, 3–4.Google Scholar
  5. Bolden, R. (2011). Distributed leadership in organisations: A review of theory and practice. International Journal of Management Research, 13(3), 251–269.Google Scholar
  6. CCL, (2011), GLOBE study, Center for Creative Leadership, North Carolina, US.Google Scholar
  7. Greenleaf, R., & Spears, L. C. (2002). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. Costa Mesa, CA: Paulist Press.Google Scholar
  8. Gronn, P. (2002). Distributed leadership as a unit of analysis. The Leadership Quarterly, 13(4), 423–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Harris, A., Leithwood, K., Day, C., Sammons, P., & Hopkins, D. (2007). Distributed leadership and organizational change: Reviewing the evidence. Journal of Educational Change, 8, 337–347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hayward, S. (2015a). Success factors in the transition towards distributed leadership in large organisations. UK: Manchester Business School.Google Scholar
  11. Hayward, S. (2015b). Connected Leadership: How to build a more agile and customer-driven business. Harlow, UK: Pearson Education.Google Scholar
  12. Ipsos and Cirrus. (2015). Leadership Connections: How HR deals with C-suite leadership. London: Cirrus.Google Scholar
  13. Ipsos and Cirrus. (2016). Leadership connections: HR and the C-suite driving Innovation. London: Cirrus.Google Scholar
  14. Kanungo, R. N. (2001). Ethical values of transactional and transformational leaders. Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, 18(4), 25–265.Google Scholar
  15. Kegan, R., & Lahey, L. (2009). Immunity to change: How to overcome it and unlock the potential in yourself and your organization. Boston: Harvard Business Press.Google Scholar
  16. King, N. (2012). Doing template analysis. in G. Symon & C. Cassell (Eds.), Qualitative organizational research. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  17. Leithwood, K., Day, C., Sammons, P., Harris, A., & Hopkins, D. (2006). Successful School Leadership: What it is and how much it influences pupil learning. Nottingham: DfES Publications.Google Scholar
  18. Leithwood, K., & Mascall, B. (2008). Collective leadership effects on student achievement. Educational Administration Quarterly, 44(4), 529–561.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Oxford English Dictionary. (1989). 2nd edition, J. Simpson & E. Weiner (Eds.), Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Pearce, C. J., & Conger, C. (2003). Shared leadership: Reframing the hows and whys of leadership. CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  21. Ratanjee, V. (2013). Making leadership more effective in Asia. Singapore: Gallup.Google Scholar
  22. Spillane, J. (2005). Distributed leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  23. Spreitzer, G. M. (2008). Taking stock: A review of more than twenty years of research on empowerment at work. in J. Barling & C. Cooper (Eds.), Handbook of organizational behaviour (pp. 54–72). CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  24. Thorpe, R., Gold, J., & Lawler, J. (2011). Locating distributed leadership. International Journal of Management Research, 13(3), 239–250.Google Scholar
  25. Uhl-Bien, M., & Marion, R. (2001). Leadership in complex organisations. The Leadership Quarterly, 12(4), 389–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Van Dierendonck, D., & Dijkstra, M. (2012). The role of the follower in the relationship between empowering leadership and empowerment: A longitudinal investigation. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Special Issue: Organisational Psychology, 42(Issue Supplement S1), E1–E20.Google Scholar
  27. Walumbwa, F., Avolio, B., Gardner, W., Wernsing, T., & Peterson, S. (2008). Authentic leadership: Development and validation of a theory-based measure. Management Department Faculty Publications, Paper 24.Google Scholar
  28. Yukl, G., & Mahsud, R. (2010). Why flexible and adaptive leadership is essential. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 62(2), 81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CirrusMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations