Is Selfless Leadership an impossible ideal? A realist research perspective

Arrival from 12 noon. Seminar starts at 12.15pm and ends at 1.15pm.

Tea, coffee and sandwiches provided (please register if you want these, and to guarantee a seat!)


Stephen Brookes, Senior fellow in public policy and management, MBS


The recent economic crisis has raised concern about a degeneration of the values of our leaders, where greed and self-interest can often overshadow shared values. The values of public sector leaders have also been brought into question: the introduction of New Public Management has left a lasting legacy that has not been wholly positive.

This seminar will explore the importance of values within the context of public leadership, through a comparative literature review of public leadership and research conducted across a range of UK public sector organisations. A new public leadership model will be presented based on what is described as a ‘20P Public Leadership Model’, supported by values based standards that can be shown to have a positive impact on the development of appropriate public leadership behaviours.

It will be suggested that we need to rediscover the lost values of leadership (drawing on work in the 1950s from Herbert Simon and Philip Selznick), the importance of a core ideology Collins and Porras, 1994) and the creation and demonstration of public value (Moore 1995).

About the speaker

Stephen Brookes is a senior fellow in public policy and management at the University of Manchester. He specialises in public leadership and policy, and is currently directly involved in the design and delivery of a new national Leadership programme commissioned by the NHS Leadership Academy. Stephen has published widely on public leadership and public policy. He is the Editor-in-Chief on the International Journal of Leadership in Public Services, published by Emerald and will publish his latest book in 2015 entitled “The Selfless Leader”.

Prior to joining MBS, Stephen was a UK Police Chief Superintendent and then took up an appointment with Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary. He then spent six years as a Home Office Director for the Government Office for the East Midlands. He was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in Her Majesty’s Jubilee Birthday Honours in June 2002 for distinguished police service and is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and the Royal Society of Arts.


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