HR should concentrate on ‘liberating leadership from the bottom’.
Andrew Foster, HR director of the UK’s largest employer the NHS, told
delegates that change driven from the top of an organisation limits innovation
and that the most effective leadership comes from the bottom.
He said leadership must come from all sides, as much of the wisdom in an
organisation is held with those delivering front-line services.
However, Foster warned that significant change would only come if HR was
aggressive, assertive and had the self-confidence to argue the case when it
came to developing staff.
He said hierarchies produced compliance, but training staff to be individual
leaders would deliver considerable change.
"Leadership should come from the bottom, with encouragement from the
top and the two groups networked together by middle management," he said.
"Individuals can have tremendous inspirational fire; we need to light a
thousand of these fires and let them spread."