Why Great Leaders Give Their Power Away
There is a strong, even evolutionary association between leadership and power. It’s coded in us to see those that take charge as those that are somehow more than us, better than us. We applaud the Steve Jobs’ and Elon Musks of the world, emulating their habits, hoping one day we can be like them.
Startup founders perhaps suffer more from the illusion that leadership = power than most people, especially because of the media hype around successful rags to riches founders. When you translate this ego-based viewpoint to the social good space though, it feels off, and not aligned with the ethos of what social entrepreneurship represents.
This “granted power” can seem uplifting, but it is problematic in its very nature. Here’s why:
Knowing these problems inherent in leadership, some organizations are even eliminating leadership roles entirely. Instead, these new type of organizations are relying on teams, not those that lead them. The idea of self-managing organizations isn’t as radical as it used to be and companies like Zappos, Medium, and Morning Star are well on their way of achieving great successes without leadership.
Self-managing organizations is a topic worth an article of its own. Till then, be mindful of the relationship between leadership and power.
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