The times of the heroic leaders are over. Taking on the shoulders of companies, their problems and the people who compose them is an unlikely operation and, therefore, desperate and harmful. It is an attitude that in the past has satisfied the ego of many managers and entrepreneurs, often at the expense of the companies they headed.
Why a leader is not a superhero
In 2010 R. Scott Rodin published a book "The Steward Leader: Transforming People, Organizations and Communities", in which, while mixing theology and business, he proposed new and interesting paradigms of corporate leadership. Leadership has become service or focusing on others for their enhancement. The leader cannot and must not just answer for himself, but must be measured by the results that the organization he leads is able to bring.
Living and being lived as indispensable weakens the abilities of those around us and, therefore, weakens the structure we want to bring to success. Phrases like "ok, I get it, I have to take care of it!" or "I think about it and then I'll let you know" they reset in a second any possibility for the team members to "dig" among their thoughts to conceive alternative solutions.
Hence, the magic word is service and the first step is the (re) distribution of power at all levels. Many executives and entrepreneurs are obsessed with the idea that, by changing their leadership style, they can become impoverished and lose prestige. When they start an executive coaching path they are afraid of finding themselves "cut off" from business dynamics and for this reason they become more insecure and unstable.
Yet, just the opposite is true. By meeting your collaborators and listening to their problems, you become their irreplaceable guides. Offering your collaboration means being by their side precisely when they need to realize their results. Here is the idea of service (Steward Leadership), guiding others and being decisive for their success. Of course, the service leadership model requires some qualities and we see them below.
Service leadership requires great confidence in one's professional and personal means. If you are unsure of your skills or feel bad about your aptitudes, it is good to start working on yourself first.
A strong personal vision
Clarity on the overall vision of personal and corporate medium-long term objectives.
We must get used to paying great attention to the needs of others and working for their personal and professional growth.
The concept of diversity is very generic, here I am referring to anthropological and cultural diversity. Opening up to diversity allows for an enrichment of perspectives and, consequently, a much wider range of possible solutions.
Service leadership requires courage and a willingness to take risks. Expanding your accommodation capacities can mean exploring less proven and comfortable solutions.
It is good not to forget that, however, we are talking about corporate leadership. Hence, the service leader guides and supports his employees in the direction of the expected results. The aspect of the service is part of making the most of individual contributions, limiting itself to self-giving credit for having supported and helped the actors of success. Conversely, in the event of failure, a service leader tends to include himself and everyone in the review of the company's strategic and operational methods.
To return to the initial theme, there is much more heroism in changing one's idea of leadership than in continuing to repeat "if it wasn't me ....".
About the author
Giuseppe Ando is a C-Level & Executive Coach - Associate Partner at the acclaimed Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching. With a career that presides at the crux of the Venn diagram of Passion, Skills, and Experience, Giuseppe’s reputation as top executive coach has spanned decades. Among his many accolades, he is also recognized for his unique ability to understand and inspire those he coaches to excel professionally and personally while also delivering their organization’s desired results.