We expect the leader to be a perfect ideal: decision maker, exemplary, inspiring, strategist and organizer. What if we forget about this leader god who maintains a culture of ego and individualism to tap into the power of the collective?
The cult of the perfect leader
Our companies dream of a perfect leader: decision maker, exemplary, inspiring, strategist, organizer. Convinced that a powerful and strong man at the head of the organization is the key to the success of our companies, we have created the Leader with a capital L: a Man or Woman who knows, federates, shows the way. Who has stature and presence. Who moves forward with focus and brio.
Many leaders have always been driven to be more responsible than others, to feel alone and to rely only on themselves. They think they have to be strong. Beyond these traits, their personal career ambitions and their thirst for power justify attitudes that sometimes serve the individual project more than the common project of the company. These are all trends that we have accentuated through the cult of individualized performance.
Too often, there is more to fear from internal guerrilla warfare and personal ambitions than from the outside world
By trying to turn our managers into gods of leadership, we create only pale icons. We exacerbate their ego. We are disappointed. What do we really expect from them?
A climate enabling the development of the shared project
The manager is the guardian of the company’s purpose, of its project, of the collective energy. It is up to him or her to create the right climate for collective development. The climate that will enable the organization to achieve its ambition. A climate that will place the collective challenge above individual challenges. Strategic and operational challenges require a wide range of skills. Complex work that is anything but individualistic in nature, requiring diverse expertise, cooperation and mutual feedback. The greatest leader in the world is not equipped with the right skills, experience and talents. The power of the collective embodies the Leader of today.
The greatest leader in the world must be plural. Let’s look for solutions in the team rather than in the individual.
The balance between the individual need and the collective challenge
The solution lies in changing our relationship to power, which historically belongs to the dominant male. For the collective magic to work, individual and collective challenges must converge: it is only by being well with ourselves and nourished by the collective project that we will succeed in really placing the collective challenge beyond our individual needs. Let’s forget about this leader god who maintains a culture of ego and individualism. Let’s look for solutions in the team rather than in the individual.
By creating the Collective Leader, we move from centralized power, embodied by the strong man, who knows, controls and directs, to plural power, which co-constructs, innovates and rebounds. With underlying values of curiosity, humility, active listening and letting go. By empowering the collective, we open up an incredible field of possibilities for co-creation and execution.