This arcticle has been graciously donated by LeadersDirect.com.
Written by Mitch McCrimmon, Ph.D.
- Our primary image of the leader comes from the military.
- Great leaders have always been heroes, especially military heroes.
- Hero worship is OK if it inspires us to greater heights.
- But bad if it disempowers us, making us dependent on heroes.
- Military heroes know where to go and how to get there so can lead from the front.
- Organizations today need everyone thinking about new directions to pursue.
- No one person can now lead from the front without a crystal ball!!
- Future leadership depends on complex knowledge and innovation from all.
- 21st century leadership is not dependent on position. Leadership now means promoting a better way. This is an ACT not a role. Front line employees can show leadership without even being seen as informal leaders in the sense of taking charge informally of the group.
The role of innovation
- Innovators lead by showing us where our industry is likely to go next.
- The implication is that your leaders do NOT need to be inside your organization!
- We already speak of “market leaders” — so leadership can come from anywhere.
- Leadership is too often confused with the question of how people in positions of
AUTHORITY influence employees to pull in the same direction.
- Why is it then that entrepreneurs do not need (internal) leaders? They look to industry leaders for inspiration and role models to beat.
- Such leadership is about innovation – not using influence skills to motivate employees.
- Why develop leaders to be nice instead of fostering real leadership through innovation?
- Some leaders have good people skills, others are too self-absorbed, too focused on their own ideas or on beating competitors.
- Who would follow such leaders? Opportunists who know a good thing when they see it, who are ready to jump on a bandwagon with little or no persuasion. People who are likely to be leaders themselves in other words.
- As knowledge workers become empowered enough to think like entrepreneurs they will look outside for leadership if you can’t provide it. But does it matter?