A leader holds the light so that others may see and follow the path. In doing so, one is exposed, isolated, lonely, easily targeted. It takes courage to hold the light, especially in difficult times. And when, inevitably, the leader falls you must be prepared to move forward, seize the light and continue to illuminate the path. We must all equally be prepared to be leaders. This is indicative of Stotan Group’s current approach to the construct of leadership. But recently we questioned the rarely challenged idea of leadership.
“Leadership”, as we know it at least, is on life support. Harkonnen-esque in its current form, it might best be defined as a bloated $B industry of experts, MBA classes, and ubiquitous leaders. And despite a bulging industry, “leadership” does not appear to be improving; in fact, to the contrary. Such factory line approaches appear only to churn out Huxley like Alphas, Betas and MBTI models. We have arguably reached a software-bloat in leadership.
We voraciously feast on the abundance of literature and experts, with their ever-increasing lessons, types and styles, in a search for some kind of leadership truth. Is it simply confirmation bias? It seems either the truth has lost its way, or the construct has outlasted its usefulness – much like fossil fuels perhaps.
Our team is increasingly of the opinion that leadership is not an anthropomorphic ability. Rather, like a thunderstorm or a fog, leadership arrives.
We offer this conceptualisation to inspire a different examination of the conventional alchemy of leadership. In our mind, it shifts the emphasis away from the trappings of an individual-centred paradigm. It recognises the randomness and entropy of leadership, that it often arrives without warning, across multiple locations and situations, all at once and or cumulatively. Its amorphous form underlines why we will never be prepared nor know everything, and likely why teaching leadership is self-evidently problematic.
This different approach to the field of leadership promotes a new discussion about how we all share it equally, and that the least qualified or least suitable person will variably hold the most power and responsibility when it counts. Perhaps most importantly, thinking of leadership as ‘arriving’ ensures a deference that appears to be lacking from contemporary explanations. Preparing for the arrival of leadership is altogether different than preparing people to be leaders per se. Indeed, leaders are neither made nor born. Leadership arrives.
Humans are more important than hardware
Stotan Group seeks to challenge conventional thinking in the domain of human performance. Simple widgets and workshops are no longer adequate. Humans are complex and unpredictable, as are the systems in which they exist. The profound human impacts of technology demand new and more sophisticated schema in which to appreciate human performance.