Thoughtful leadership: Lessons from Bion

Journal Article or Monograph

Title: Thoughtful leadership: Lessons from Bion
Year: 2005
Authors: Dr Peter Simpson Dr Robert French

In the competing discourses within organisations, primacy tends to be given to decisive, action oriented, knowing leadership in contrast to more reflective, patient, thoughtful leadership. This paper argues that there is an important place for ‘thoughtful leadership’ as one of the necessary responses to the challenge of liquid modernity and the danger of organisations going ‘off task’. Thoughtful leaders are first of all concerned with keeping their organisation ‘on task’. It pursuit of this, thoughtful leadership provides containment, is available for thought, and mobilises others in the organisation to be thoughtful. Throughout the paper lessons are drawn from the work of the psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion on the development of the capacity for thought.

Keywords: leadership, reflection, patience, on task, off task, Bion, capacity for thought
Language: English

Journal: Organisational and Social Dynamics
Volume: 5
Issue: 2
Start page: 280
End page:
Publisher ID:

Submitted by:
Dr Robert French
Corresponding author: Dr Robert French

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