Leadership is so last century…

I was having a delightful conversation with the amazing and insightful Jack Ricchiuto last night. Whenever I speak with him, I feel compelled to take fastidious notes because the gems of wisdom pour from him as if he was Rumpelstiltskin weaving gold from hay. He spoke of moving from leadership of individuals to the small group as the core essential unit. And it struck me immediately as very insightful…I was so ready for that nugget of wisdom!

So this is why I am thinking this shift is valuable. And I would love to hear your thinking on this issue, since I am still piecing it together.

When we focus on leaders, we put our attention on their role and performance. It is dis-empowering to the other vital players in a group. Each member of a group is important whether they are the nurturers who support the best coming from all or the harvesters which synthesize and bring the gems forward….or the critics who help refine the ideas…or the clown which makes it fun and full of laughter…or any number of other archetypes that come into play. Sometimes these characteristics are multiple in one person, sometimes they are shared across many. However, focusing on the leader dissipates attention away from the system dynamics at play in a group.

For too long we have privileged the voice of the group, the instigator, the dictator… Or worse, we have pretended that the pyramidal structures work with “leaders” at the top rather than collaborators throughout.

And improving the output of the group by working on the leader in particular is like treating your toe pain without considering your whole body (and that if you held a different posture, the pain would go away). Move away from group pain by: focusing on the positive–the strengths of each collaborator, the dream the group has passion for, the small accountable next step of action, and people needed for the collaboration to be fruitful. Jack and his partner have a whole process for it. :-)