Transcending Leadership Moulds

There are enough literature and guides available to explain the theory and practice of leadership. However, the biggest teacher of leadership is the nature itself complete with its universal intelligence.

In B Schools and HRD classes, people teach classifications of leadership models because they help students lead organized lives and have a clear picture of where things are. Despite the regular and discernible chaos in organizational leadership paradigms, people somehow feel comfortable with yardsticks they can identify with. That which is in their genetic coding. Some theories are based around the concepts of a transactional  or a transformational leader. Often people like to fall into one of the categories based on their code.

They make cardinal natural blunders here.

Ever seen a sapling grow into a tree and yield fruits against all the vagaries of nature? The key word that nature bestows upon them,and us, is adaptability. The trees adapt to storms, the animals adapt, the chameleons change colours and every activity guided by universal intelligence adapts disruptively to live in perfect harmony with its surroundings.

What happens to humans? Why do we have to be tutored in every aspect of a disruptive and adaptive life as against the laws of nature? Why should leaders be only type cast into transactional or transformational?

One comes across organizations which are sticklers for rules. Do you want to play by the rules in business? Or do you see rules as limitations that are important reference points but can be bent or experimented with for the benefit of your organisation?

There is a world out there beyond the stereotypes of transactional,situational and transformational leadership. The nature does take root as per set rules. A tree would not grow if it doesn’t get adequate sunshine or water or bend in the wind to the limit of its elasticity. So largely some rules have to be followed to have a semblance of commonality of purpose but there are others which need to be bent to suit the mandates of organizational efficiency.

This is the theory of evolution.

No one approach can be defined as the best. Time, situation, organizational needs and other expediencies should make a leader adapt his organization in a

leadership in circles

disruptive and distributed model so as to produce the sum of the whole as a multiplication factor of the individual strengths of the teams. The leader has to represent and act as the conductor of an orchestra – give adequate latitude to each musician but notice the failing notes promptly,finally producing synergy in the collective effort towards producing the required musical score.

There though is a problem here. This disruptive and directive style of functional leadership puts the onus of delivery largely on the led. If these have not been groomed to adapt to change and lead change.  armed with suitable KSAs, the ecosystem gets disturbed and results get marginalized to leadership styles. Organisation suffers.

While it is important to have some stability and equilibrium in the teams, it is equally important to flatten the hierchies to generate better and interactive output based on principles of empowerment. The more Ristakes (Risk plus Mistakes) you permit within the wider scope of experimentation better will be the evolutionary process of the organization as a whole. Leaders may face some tactical setbacks but strategically it is a win-win situation for the organization.

Leaders have to perpetuate change and teach teams to fly, as a bird does to the young ones, with attendant short term risks. It is only in such leadership environments that teams learn to soar.

Leadership training tends to be full of talk about change and moving forward, but in fact it is the simple complexity of disruptive leaders which can bring about a culture of change by leading from the front.

Change is a daily process, as is leadership, for change. To be in harmony and ahead of change, leaders have to be more disruptive than change itself. This proactivity creates the right growth environment based on trust, irrespective of the style used.

There are no mantras to be a leader. One can learn all  one wants from the books but in the end you have to be a leader and not become one. It is an inside thing – a call guided by our little voice which the nature has bestowed upon each one. We must use it effectively.

As they say in the military – leadership is spirituality in motion!

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About nannikapoor

Love leadership and friends is all one needs to leave foot prints in the sands of time....so I rant

Posted on September 30, 2010, in Change Management, Leadership and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Mentoring is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. “Different strokes for different folks” is more like it. Some people need a lot of direction or hand-holding; others need autonomy and freedom to experiment and grow. Your mentee may need different things at different times, depending on challenges that arise, the level of difficulty in job assignments, and the ebb and flow of motivation.

    As a mentor, you shouldn’t try to be a mind-reader. The best way to find out what someone needs from you is to ask:

    “How can I be most helpful to you right now?”

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