128 – Council superheroes. Some feedback from readers.

Posted by Lancing Farrell                                                                              300 words

reader feedback

Editorship has some privileges. I have enjoyed Linda Perkin’s posts on Captain Council and look forward to what will unfold in future posts. Captain Council has generated some interest, with a few people ‘connecting some dots’ and telling us about them.

Apparently western suburbs local print media shock jock Kevin Hillier has commented that councillors in his community have a ‘cloak of invisibility’. It seems they haven’t been as publicly accountable as he would like.

It was suggested that Captain Council might need this superpower. If he did, I am sure it would not be to hide from his constituents!

Another colleague pointed out a scholarly article written a few years ago about whether CEO’s in local government are superheroes or puppets. In the introduction, the author comments that:

“… CEO’s are required to operate across multiple dimensions simultaneously.”

This sounds like ‘shape shifting’ to me. A quick check on Wikipedia reveals that this superpower is more likely to be ‘dimensional travel’ (i.e. the ability to travel between two or more dimensions, realities, realms) or ‘omnipresence’ (i.e. the ability to be present anywhere and everywhere simultaneously). Secretly, I think many CEO’s do aspire to omnipotence.

I should probably take this article more seriously. It concludes with the view that:

“Successful CEOs share several common characteristics which reflect the ability to effectively manage along the three edges+. These CEO’s tend to possess transformational, charismatic, and almost superhuman qualities.”

It is all starting to sound a bit eerie to me, but my confidence was restored by a more thorough perusal of the article, which revealed that the research was strictly scholarly and involved nothing supernatural.

+ The concept of the ‘three edges’ was developed by Henry Mintzberg to describe the work of the public sector manager. The edges are the ‘operating edge’, the ‘stakeholder edge’ and the ‘political edge’.

Jones, Stephen 2011. ‘Superheroes or Puppets? Local Government Chief Executive Officers in Victoria and Queensland’, Journal of Economic and Social Policy, August.