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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Ramsden

(Almost) Everyone's A Leader

In the Age of AI and beyond, everyone's a leader!

Well, almost everyone.

Let me explain...

Expert Leaders

Gone are the days when a single leader could have all the answers, or a lone expert could know it all.

As our circle of knowledge continues to expand, the circumference of our ignorance is likewise, only growing. Where 1 or 2 experts used to be enough, we now need 6 or 8.

And these experts are leaders in their own right, in their field, their niche, their unique expertise and understanding. It's not enough for them to just know stuff, they must be able to communicate clearly, influence and persuade those around them.

They must be able to meet others where they're at and bring them on the journey. So an expert can no longer be just a researcher or a geek, they must also have emotional intelligence and lead with empathy if they stand any chance of making an impact.

Visionary Leaders

Visionary leaders are still required just as they always were. But their ability to inspire and intrinsically motivate others must now be on point.

Many employees are no longer happy to just trade their precious time for money. Since Covid, many are re-considering what they want out of life and work, and have realised they want more. They want fulfilment.

Visionary leaders must now lead with their heart and intuition about what those around them want and need. What are their passions, what lights them up, what are they great at, where would they most like to learn and grow, what's in it for them? These questions must always remain front of mind.

Facilitative (Servant) Leaders

Last but not least, who will bring all of these perspectives and egos together, help establish common ground and synthesise all the input into something greater than the sum of it's parts?

This is the role of a new breed of leader, the facilitative leader (also known as the servant leader).

Servant Leadership as defined originally by Robert K Greenleaf is often misunderstood. It was actually quite a deep and impressive concept he outlined in his 1970 paper "The Servant as Leader". However his definition of Servant Leadership is commonly paraphrased incorrectly as some who "surrenders most of their authority and puts their team first. It’s a selfless type of leadership that focuses on the well-being and long-term growth of team members."

Even as a Servant Leader, you must retain authority and own a vision, and being selfless is considered harmful. Here are 4 key principles for facilitative or servant leaders:

  1. I have a vision. Not for the product itself (ie content) but for the container, how we make decisions around and build the product,  including our culture. How we get there together and how we feel as we go are just as important as the destination and ultimately lead to a better product and outcomes.

  2. I care about others AND I put myself first. Last but certainly not least, I can't support or nurture others until I support and nurture myself. Keeping my cup full is my number 1 priority and enables me to best 'serve' others. This starts by learning to love and accept all parts of me.

  3. I have no horse in the race. My ideas are just one of many, and I don't need to be the subject matter expert. I want the right outcome for the product/organisation and it's customers. I can see the value in all perspectives and opinions. We are all equal in our humanity, myself included.

  4. I add value through facilitation. My value is created by connecting, guiding, synthesising and raising the level of the conversation to an inclusive and integrative level. I understand that there's no SINGLE RIGHT WAY things should be done, it's always contextual, which means it always needs to be found through the integration of the best of diverse perspectives, which benefits greatly from my facilitation. I'm here to help find the right way for the organisation right here, right now.

Which type are you?

Which type of leadership do you lean towards most often? Which would you like to inhabit more often? Which would you like to develop your skills and experience in?

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