Why Real Leaders Don’t Care About Titles or Formalities
“Traditional leadership that relies on prominence (‘look to me’), dominance (‘listen to me’), and tribalizing (‘follow me’) to get things done isn’t working anymore. Instead the best leaders are global change agents; they’re men and women who can act with or without formal positional authority to mobilize diverse factions to face reality, participate in interdependent problem solving, and contribute to innovative solutions with focus and speed.
The outdated leadership modal emphasizes operating within boundaries—these leaders protect and manage boundaries. But global change agents, true leaders, aren’t afraid to cross boundaries, bust boundaries, transcend boundaries, and build bridges. Here’s what that looks like:
Interdependent problems necessitate that multiple groups in a social system be mobilized since problems can’t be brought to resolution by one group acting alone or in isolation. True leaders, then, must cross the cultural, gender, geographic, structural, and professional boundaries that separate people and groups. …
True leaders must intervene to break up maladaptive practices and counterproductive boundaries that perpetuate silos and tribalism. Groups by nature are tribal and seek to preserve their prevailing boundaries, even at the expense of facing reality and adapting to changed conditions.
Boundaries play an important function in protecting groups and sustaining a group culture, but they become impediments when they reduce the flow of information and resources and keep people from facing changed conditions, dealing with threats, and taking advantage of unique and emerging opportunities.”