As organisational realities evolve, so should the way we lead
Once upon a time most organisations had a pyramid-shaped organisational chart to explain how the business was structured to go to market and run efficiently.
Traditional leaders hoped that the picture below could be true with everything and everyone, all carefully ordered and compliant.
From the top with their superior knowledge, leaders could issue decrees and memos to be followed by their minions; at the same time they would be respected (and possibly worshipped!) for their status with the leadership message of ‘one day you could be like me…’
Even then these charts seemed like a poor reflection of reality and someone was constantly frustrated by having to update what was becoming an ever-changing picture. The chart below was based on the case study of Morning Star, a US-based food processing & transport business, conducted by Frederic Laloux1 in 2014 and is a far more honest picture of today’s working realities.
We all know everything is changing – the iPhone is over ten years old and driverless cars are no longer a dream – and the workplace is becoming an increasingly dynamic mix of competing motivations and diverse client markets. Where once financial targets were king, profits are now considered a by-product of delivering on your organisational purpose. Look at Brewdog, of craft beer fame, who recently committed to giving away 20% of their profit forever (10% to charity and 10% to their staff) to serve their goal of, “being the best company to work for, ever.”2
The successful new leaders, a term coined by Daniel Goleman3, are those equipped with emotional intelligence that outstrips their technical knowledge and arms them to navigate through a world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Seeking new challenges they are calm and compassionate as they bring out the best in those around them to deliver on organisational demands.
The good news is that with purposeful commitment, existing leaders can unpick old habits and choose better ways of leading; whilst emerging leaders can have have their learning paths accelerated and smoothed so their efforts reap mutually beneficial rewards.
Investing in developing your leaders is no longer a hygiene factor – it is the choice that ensures your organisation thrives.
- from Reinventing Organisations: A Guide to Creating Organisations Inspired by the Next Stage in Human Consciousness, Feb 2014, by Frederic Laloux
- Search for Brewdog Unicorn Fund for a 90 second video
- Daniel Goleman, one of the key architects of Emotional Intelligence. The New Leaders: Transforming the Art of Leadership, Dec 2003, by Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, Annie McKee
About the author of this article:
Jamie Rowland is Catseye’s very own Head of Leadership and loves helping businesses explore how better leadership capabilities can lead to better results. He is great at listening and asking the objective questions which stimulate new thinking. Jamie has worked in Leadership Development for years: heading up a team for a FTSE 250 business, and managing L&D in a Big Four firm. He studied leadership at Sandhurst, has a postgrad diploma in Training & HRM and holds various psychological qualifications.