The Leader as the Brain, the Hands, the Heart and the Soul of the Organisation.
18 de May de 2021
18 de May de 2021
“Every day, I look at myself in the mirror and I ask myself: If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today? If the answer is no for enough days in a row, I know I must change something”. This is how Steve Jobs faced change. The thing is that the world is changing at a breathtaking pace and the leaders of organisations are looking at themselves in the mirror —as it should be— and making changes accordingly.
The current transformation we’re experiencing in many areas of the working environment —that can make us feel a bit dizzy at times— requires a new leadership model that’s efficient, transformative and humane. In this new paradigm, the classic concept of the leader as a distant and unapproachable manager is becoming increasingly obsolete. All those no in front of the mirror are giving way to a new figure that, beyond being the brain of the organisation, starts behaving as a complete, self-aware, emotional and communicative organism — a leader that’s simultaneously the brain, the hands, the heart and the soul of the organisation.
This was the point made by Gonzalo Rossi —CEO of Whalecom— and Diana Salazar —Talent Vice President at Pragma— during the EAE On Session, “Corporate Leadership Trends”.
1- The Leader, the Brain of a Living Organism.
Just like our brain coordinates and communicates every activity that goes on in our bodies with all the other organs, the leader has become the main organ — not just for management, but also for the communication of the strategy and the purpose of the whole organisation.
When a business is created and developed, we start with an idea and a purpose that, in turn, give way to a strategy to see them through. However, without a structure that’s managed and aligned —in order to have everyone that’s a part of it going in the same direction—, that goal will not be achieved.
That’s why it’s crucial that leaders and purpose are aligned. An organisation is nothing more than the people who make it up and each one of them must have a clear leadership model to help the teams run smoothly.
2- The Tongue and the Ears of the Organisation.
Another change that comes with the new times is the end of that distant leader that wouldn’t even know the names of the members of the team. Now, the true leader becomes the tongue and the ears of the organisation, having constant conversations, sharing, listening to others and “reading” the environment.
The quality of the conversations, the new intimacy that is created in organisations and the way in which the leader creates, captures and spreads these messages —that come up in conversations— are fundamental aspects to face the new challenges that come up every day.
3- A Leadership with Soul.
I’m sure we’ve all heard this at one time or another —or maybe said it—: “Personal problems must remain outside of the work environment”. As if our working self and our personal self were completely different concepts. Currently, this way of thinking is fading away thanks to the fact that leadership is being increasingly linked to intimacy, to our inner self.
Even though the concept of intimacy differs according to the degree of collectivism or individualism of each society, patriarchal leadership models are being left behind to give way to a new paradigm in which understanding oneself and others is fundamental. This is because the mission of the leader is to generate positive influence in order to maximise the individuals' and the teams’ capacities and this isn’t possible if we fail to understand what the others need, what the others are going through or what the others’ lives are like. There’s no such thing as a division between who we are at home or at work — we’re the same person, always.
In order to reach this state in which we can understand others, intimacy must come from the leader — from the leader’s understanding and reflections of her or his internal state. Only through constant self transformation can a leader help others, developing a transformational leadership that is always at the service of others.
4- The Heart that Pumps Blood into the whole Organisation.
It may sound like a contradiction that, in the current times, where automation and technology rule, emotions are being put in the spotlight. And leaders are no exception: it wouldn’t be any good if they were great managers but didn’t have enough emotional intelligence to know and understand themselves and others. After many years of hiding emotions to avoid looking weak, now they are not only not hidden but also of great importance.
If we fail to understand our own emotions, we won’t be able to help others and, even less so, carry out a leadership that will develop positive and conscious influence. To sum up, if we don't understand what we feel, we won’t be able to manage others’ emotions; if we are not aware of how our actions have an impact on our team, we won’t be able to lead efficiently. Leadership is no longer in the singular: it’s a collective task that creates value above expectations.
5- The Leader as the One that Brings About Movement.
Just like the brain coordinates the movement of the whole body, today, a leader is the engine that drives change in the culture of organisations and the people that make them up. In a setting where changes happen increasingly fast, the leader acts as a host, monitoring what happens inside the organisation and proposing and setting in motion the new ways of facing challenges.
That’s why, through the leader, every member of the organisation can question their own beliefs and experience with new forms of collective leadership of which they’re part of and which challenge them every day. The work that this requires isn’t carried out in just one day. The leader is responsible for setting the grounds for cultural changes and the dynamisation of processes through reflections and constant conversations. Only through this will the leader expand those invisible threads that bring about profound change.