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When the United Nations elects a new secretary-general next year, the world will face a crucial choice.Yet the selection process for filling important international posts has often been characterized more by political horse-trading than a meritocratic search for the best candidate.A new report by the World Economic Forum and Oxford University's Blavatnik School of Government lays out a series of best practices – each one of which has already been implemented by at least one international agency – that can guarantee that leaders are drawn from the most qualified candidates, and that the organizations for which they work are vested with the best possible management practices.In recent years, allegations of improper behavior have led to resignations by the heads of the IMF, the World Bank, and the U.N. refugee agency.A leader is only as good as the people who work for him, so organizations must make it a high priority to attract and retain good staff and rid themselves of those who lack professional integrity or competence. Fortunately, almost all global agencies have instituted processes for independent evaluation.An effective U.N. leader needs to be able to persuade member states to cooperate, manage the organization well, and deliver results. Without good leadership, any organization – even the U.N. – is destined to fail.
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