by Rick Sidorowicz
Where is the concept of leadership going? The traditional view of what a 'leader' is has changed. The typical 'picture' - the great individual, the hero or heroine, the inspiring, charismatic figurehead, the 'special' individuals that set the direction, make the important decisions and energize the 'troops,' just doesn't seem to capture the 'complexities' of leadership today.
We've seen a shift to coaching, mentoring, enrolling, inspiring, engaging, shared visioning and a host of related 'ings' that add new dimensions and round out a more contemporary skill set for 'leading' enterprises and individuals. But these new concepts and perspectives also seem to lack the 'bite' - the 'gem' - the 'juice' - the simple and profound insights that work - in the sense of clarity, purpose and focus.
What comes close for me is the notion of the leader or CEO as 'pilot-in-command.' The series Pilot Performance explores the metaphor of the leader having the ultimate, singular and personal sense of responsibility, accountability and stewardship any one individual can be entrusted with. But seeing leadership as being 'in command' is still not complete.
Other aspects, metaphors and dimensions …
How about strategist, architect and designer? What about coach, mentor and teacher? What about the boss as the banker? What about coordinator, integrator, broker, builder, developer and talent scout? How about pilot, navigator, captain and general? And how about hero or champion? They all 'fit' to a degree and yet all describe a facet of the gem. Perhaps superman or wonderwoman is appropriate to capture more of what is needed today.
The bottom line? All of the above and as many more as you can think of - at different times and in different situations. The ultimate - whatever works, whatever it takes. What lies beyond? More of whatever works and therefore more that we have to learn and learn faster, perhaps with a serious dose of the spirit of adventure to go and grow well beyond what we know today.
Leading is learning … and learning faster!
Many more articles in The Leadership Imperative in The CEO Refresher Archives