What if being a leader has nothing to do with creating followers?
Dr. Domenico Lepore, Founder of Intelligent Management, writes about Leadership.
Leadership and selflessness
A leader must provide their people with a vision of life and this vision must be permeated with the idea of justice; a leader with their words and actions must elevate people’s faith in the possibility to build a better world. Jesse James and John Dillinger captured the imagination of many and, sadly, they had many followers. But they were not leaders because their vision was against any acceptable ethics.
A leader is selfless and seeks no power; on the contrary they see their job as servitude. This is not because they are weak but because they understand their role in the world. A leader is, at their very core, an enabler of people’s potential.
One of the greatest spiritual leaders of our times, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, The Rebbe, says that a “leader has to be a reflection of our own light back to us, so we may see ourselves anew”.
Leaders, not followers
A leader must aim at creating other leaders not followers; they do so by elevating their people’s ability to address their inner drives and cater for their primal fears. They seek no control over people’s emotions; they empower them, they give them the possibility to be the best they can. A leader understands that we live in a world where interconnections and interdependencies easily go beyond our ability to fully comprehend them. The only meaningful role we can play in this interconnected network is to act as a vessel.
The transformation that Intelligent Management pursues is one where emphasis is placed on helping ventures to fulfil their role in the world, to pursue the goal they set for themselves, to accomplish the vision that has inspired their creation. Almost invariably, this has to deal with enabling the organization to focus on the key elements that determine success. Conceptually, these elements can be summarized as Quality, Involvement and Flow.
Quality, Involvement, Flow
A Leader sees Quality as larger than life, an all-encompassing attribute that permeates everything we do. Quality is grounded in the belief that management in any shape or form is prediction, and the ability to predict is the essence of any epistemology.
Flow is the result of our actions; flow of materials, information and money. Flow is associated with motion, hence with evolution and the pace of change. It is the derivative of space and time, it reminds us that no real value can be created unless a certain amount of change is taken into consideration.
Involvement of people is what enables Quality and Flow. The foundation for any involvement is the teamwork that underpins the functioning of organizational systems. We can build a system by asking everyone to subordinate to the goal of a system, to give up on something personally for the greater good. It often works but invariably leads to people working mechanically; in time, it takes away some pride in workmanship, it replaces innovation with compliance. A leader understands that a system can develop and continually improve its results towards the stated goal if people in the system see in what they do for the system an enhancement of their personal life. A leader understands that there is no conflict between self-fulfilment and subordination to the goal because a correctly designed system allows an individual to gain more by subordinating to the goal than they would achieve independently. A leader understands that what people do and what people are must be one.
A leader does not exist in a vacuum; they can only exist if surrounded by people that acknowledge them. They select their people and those people recognize the leader as such. A leader must evolve and so must their leadership. While the core tenets of their leadership can be everlasting they, personally, may not be. A leader must be ready to pass on the baton at the right time. A leader is a leader when they lead, but also when they stop doing so.
Extract from the book: Sechel: Logic, Language and Tools to Manage Any Organization as a Network of Projects
See also our series on Systemic Management:
No Fear in the Workplace – Making It Happen
Drive Out Fear by Learning to Think Systemically
Don’t Climb, Grow! Success in the Systemic Organization
Can We Do Away with Hierarchy?
The Network of Projects: Driving Out Fear in the Post-Digital Age
Fear-free Career Paths in the Network of Projects
Learning, Joy, and the Interconnected Future
Structuring the Network of Projects: Algorithms and Emotions
Start Making Sense: Introduction To Statistical Process Control