mobilize or monopolize

Posted on Wednesday.8.12.2009



After attending The Leadership Summit at Willowcreek Church in Chicago, it definitely seems that people and organizations all over the world are asking for a new and different kind of leadership. I was able to hear from national and organizational leaders like David Gergen (CNN Senior Political Analyst and served under four U.S. Presidents), Gary Hamel (Author, Professor, Director of Management Innovations Lab), Chip and Dan Heath (Authors of Made to Stick), Patrick Lencioni (Author and president of The Table Group), Jessica Jackley (co-founder of, and Bono, just to name a few. There was also a number of church pastors/directors that spoke as well, as the conference’s main audience is church leaders.

The principal theme was that the world is no longer looking for hierarchal structures and top-down leadership. This was all new to me, since I still believed that the WWDC is much more abuzz when Steve Jobs is going to be there. The fact is the world has very few of these GREAT leaders for EVERYONE to follow and really be impacted. In the words of Gary Hamel:

Is the challenge finding great leaders OR creating the structures that are
not based on a great leader being at the top?

That is deeply impacting. It made me think if we really lead to mobilize people or if we lead simply to reach some point of monopoly of power where all greatness is attributed to ourselves?

The Old Guard

  • Wait for ONE leader’s vision to act
  • Hang on every word and nugget of said leader
  • Never think for yourself or ever question the leader, her ideas are best
  • Only the leader has answers to the problem
  • The leader takes all the credit and reaps all the glory

The New Front

  • The vision is whatever the team’s common goal is
  • Collaboration of thoughts creates the group’s best ideas
  • Question everything with humility
  • Everyone but the leader may have the best answers to an emergency situation
  • The leader mobilizes so the team gets credit, not one person

This doesn’t mean there is no longer a need for leadership. But because everyone is working in teams, it actually necessitates the need for MORE leaders. But you have to ask yourself the question, are you in it for yourself and desire a full monopoly of power or do you want to mobilize others for the sake of a cause? If you do the latter, Gary Hamel says that “Natural hierarchies will form with natural leaders.” Will you be one of them or be too busy figuring out who you have to shmooze to move up?

Posted in: leadership, success