The Great Leadership Scam

November 15, 2016 Chris Pearse

I don’t know about you but I’m fed up to the back teeth hearing and reading about the need for leadership: charismatic, high-performing, target-busting, people-wowing leaders.

Attributing corporate success to an individual leader, and rewarding them commensurately with their inflated hero status is not only a demeaning insult to the rest of the organisation, it is also crassly ignorant of reality.

Leaders, at their best, can only release the potential held within the organisation. So a well-performing leader gets the best out of their people. Success means everyone is doing their job – status and remuneration needs to respect this to maintain it.

When I see a team or an organisation working well, I see collective leadership with everyone leading and supporting, utilising their strengths………….

Everyone is equal in an atmosphere of trust and respect.

I recently ran a workshop for a global luxury goods brand. All very bright, capable people, experienced and effective in their fields. In walked the CEO and the whole focus of energy shifted tangibly from the issues being discussed to the man himself. Every movement he made, every word he uttered redirected the whole team. I could feel every member of the team asking themselves “Will my opinion fit with his? Will it meet with his approval?”

Surely, in this century’s new-found individualism, shouldn’t we be referencing ourselves, rather than others?