Welcome to a New Leadership Paradigm

Consider What an Evolving Definition of Leadership Means for You and Your Team

“Leadership is an activity in pursuit of something new and better. In an increasingly complex world, appointed leaders simply don’t know enough to decide what is new and better. Leadership is a group sport, not an individual heroic activity.” – Edgar Schein

Simply stated, leadership is any act that takes two or more people closer to a common goal. And it’s a dialogue between partners, not a one-way monologue. Effective leadership today involves an approach that doesn’t rely on chain of command or micromanagement, but instead, a framework for partnership and collaboration.

This new leadership paradigm values sharing, collaboration, and service over the traditional command-and-control values of exclusion, control, and self-interest. Author and organizational development expert Peter Block equates it with the notion of stewardship, because it’s “the choice to preside over the orderly distribution of power.” In this context, it opens the door to creating non-hierarchical organizations in which leadership is dispersed among all staff, not concentrated in a small number of people at the top.

Leadership is the capacity to initiate a future distinct from the past. A distinct future can only be achieved through high engagement. The essence of leadership then is about convening, valuing relatedness, and decentralizing its own role. 

 An alternative future occurs when a community of people chooses to come together and be accountable for something larger than themselves. All we know about learning, exceptional performance, and creativity indicates that the existence of a supportive community is what makes the difference. Leadership in these terms is dependent on building strong communities. And strong communities produce strong performance and business results.

Session Topics
  • The growing need for leadership agility
    – The pace of change and level of complexity and interdependence are increasing
    – Leadership agility is the ability to lead effectively under these conditions
  • A different definition of leadership
    – Leadership is a collective capacity that is widely distributed
    – Leadership is about influence, not power or authority
    – Everyone is a leader, regardless of position or title
Related References/Resources


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