Future leader DNA
For many organisations transformational change historically only happened when there was a really powerful ‘burning platform’ connected to strategy, money and/or survival. However we are in a different era now where crises, changes, new directions, new capabilities, innovations and so on are an almost daily factor and the nature of change is different.
One of the challenges within this new vista of change is that it can create an almost ‘hunkering down’ approach as leaders and employees in general attempt to weather and indeed survive the change by unconsciously using old behaviours, processes and systems. We risk relying on an outdated perspective on what ‘great’ looks like even though at heart everyone knows this can’t be the way forward.
The many new organisational models that are emerging seek to address the requirements of agility, innovation/creativity, transparency, accountability and more. These characteristics are vital to healthy functioning going forward in this VUCA world.
What they also need to be addressing however, are the deeply engrained cultural and behavioural norms that characterise the leadership styles of many large established organisations. Issues that are largely deep rooted in the need for power and control albeit in often very subtle ways – essentially an outdated management perspective rather than a true leadership perspective.
Whilst I know power and control are strong words which will make some shake their heads and declare ‘that’s not an issue here’ nevertheless power and control are key words that need confronting. They are deep seated and part of the organisational DNA. Most senior leaders have grown up in this form of leadership – their success has come because of it. If we are to break this we need to be prepared to examine our conditioning and make very conscious efforts to challenge our own discomfort and even fears.
The future organisation demands leaders who are truly comfortable with transparency, delegation on a new scale, building and fostering trust, opening themselves to challenge from all corners of the organisation and inspiring others as a cross functional facilitator and coach rather than from a functional/directive management perspective.
This deep examination of a key blocker (addiction to power and control) can be missed amongst the necessary and valuable organisational development work looking at emotional intelligence, matrix working and change leadership. Like all breakthroughs, as we acknowledge the presence of such a fundamental blocker, we can then bring the necessary resources to its removal and replacement with healthier and more effective practices.