In the light of technology revolution competence of building winning teams is no longer a determinant of the quality of the leader. In the age of such rapid changes leader’s role will be the ability to gather people and build communities around the idea. This brings huge changes in what the leader should be.
One of the most important points in the agenda at the Davos meeting was the discussion on the future of leadership in the world. It was discussed in the context of the IV technology revolution – process automation, artificial intelligence and robotics.
During the discussion, it was repeatedly pointed out that entrepreneurship and self-employed people would be one of the most important forms of work in the near future. Therefore in the age of technology revolution winning companies will be those which connect people and not those which necessary employ. It changes everlasting paradigm about size of the company – number of employed people.
This brings huge consequences to the leadership we know as of now.
But that’s not all. Flattening organizational structures, self-organized teams or co-decision in the direction of the company’s development are increasingly common. Everything to meet today’s and tomorrow’s challenges in the job market and changing business conditions.
Companies have already mastered generational challenges of a client-to-customer relationship, but are constantly struggling to cope with the challenge of managing such diverse, intercultural, global or virtual teams in a matrix organization.
One of the competencies that leaders will use in their work to effectively manage in a complex environment will be the ability to build communities instead of teams. It is crucial competence in the light of the future changes.
The slogan: ” leader of the future builds communities instead of teams” will be an increasingly common challenge to meet.
Therefore when leader is ready to build such a community?
- When leader stops leading and starts to inspire.
- When leader understands that community is gathered around the idea, not the leader itself. Leader’s ego element needs to be surrendered to allow that. So many leaders are still not ready for that point.
- When leader accepts that instead of team members leader has ambassadors of his/her idea. It requires different set of skills to lead teams and different to lead ambassadors.
- When leader accepts that his/her idea is just the beginning and its further development depends on the community which is built around the idea.
- Finally, if leader understands that the right way is to communicate from the power level, not the force.
What’s the difference between power and force?
All activities that require effort from the leader to maintain a given state are actions from the force level. All those that aim to build are actions from the power level. In short words avoid to force something or somebody and encourage to empowerment.
Therefore, if a leader who puts most of the effort (force) into maintaining a particular state is likely to fail. Because every additional time to maintain what is already done requires more and more effort. One who is forcing something or somebody to do something requires energy form external environment, therefore acting from force perspective is short term action until force will run out. Communication from the power level is an inspiration to action and is simple empowerment. In this case there is no longer need to put effort into maintenance as inspiration begins to build. The leader becomes the inspiration of the expedition to the desired destiny, and the community discovers path to the goal itself.
How to build community?
Ask yourself questions:
- Do you force as a leader to maintain or rather empower to build?
- What actions in your day to day work are coming from force and those which come from empowerment?
Without understanding this point, there is no way to build a community as community in definition needs empowerment and not force to grow.
The purpose for which you build the community should be part of your “why” (sense of life) – it must be just authentic and coming from your heart.
If a leader acts from a sense of self then source of motivation comes from inner self. Every motivation coming from external (environment, knowledge, other people, subordination and dependency) causes the leader to become dependent on external factors. Consequently, it stops the leader to be independent. If, however, the idea is consistent with sense, then the environment, knowledge, other people will be carriers of ideas, not goals in themselves. It is enough to change the direction of the motivation of the leader to change the dependence to independence.
Community members want to feel safe within the community.
To make community you should accept that values are the rules. They are also coming from the leader working like a filter. Values allow to feel yourself, to distinguish empathy from compassion – one of the most important differences between force and power. Empathy is the most important competence in community building – thanks to it the leader understands the problems and needs of the community. Inspires instead of talking. Words become only an instrument in the hand of the idea, not an meaning itself.
Idea is communicated through story.
In the beginning, the leader is a messenger of the story of ideas. Story must be consistent with the sense of meaning and values of the leader. Otherwise, it will be perceived as false statement. People have this small detector called intuition. If something is not integral community will not develop.
Win the ambassadors of the idea.
Ambassadors are those who take over the idea from the leader. They become messengers. Ambassadors are people who identify with the idea, values and story. They are in harmony with them. They create future platform for growth.
Ambassadors and the leader communicate the story until the critical point is reached
– that is when the idea and the story begins to live its own life. Then the community begins to form. The community takes over the executive roles of the idea. Modifies and invents new ways to implement it. In this point community starts to grow exponentially in number of members and ambassadors.
From that moment leader’s function is limited to be a mentor, the role of a guide of the community.
Loyalty is essential in building a community. Hence building of true loyalty is possible only if the idea, values and story work from the power level and are to inspire rather than manipulate. Every manipulation is a sign of force. Communicating with force leads to short-term effects. Communication from the power level leads to long ever lasting effects.
Idealistic or real? The answer is: it depends.
If you want to be a true leader it’s real. If you want to lead instead of inspiring this is indeed idealistic.
If your goal is to achieve greater importance than doing everyday work, it is real, if not idealistic.
Conclusion: whether real or idealistic – depends only on you.
Building a community is a difficult road. It require hard work on ourselves, it require constant discovery of ourselves, it require finally different sets of skills than traditional leadership which we observe starts to fail more often than ever now – in business, politics and family life. Therefore building of community starts in us.
Good luck on the journey to true leadership!
Co-Founder of Corporate Differently