Leadership work of the 21st century, requires leaders in organizations to develop new leaders, not new followers.
Organizations have enough people unwilling to be accountable, responsible, empowered, and competent only to the level they are comfortable with.
Organizations have enough people who are paralyzed into inaction by options (too many or too few), afraid more of outcomes and consequences than they are of future issues hurtling at them, and people who are myopic about tomorrow, disinterested in yesterday, and busy seeking safety in the maelstrom of today.
Organizations don’t have enough people willing to take risks, lead without being asked, give away their power, and who are self-aware to know their own limitations.
Leadership designed to develop and truly empower leaders must be focused on training people in skills they don’t have (e.g. conflict management, self-awareness, and storytelling) in order to grow their technical competence, and then focused on disempowering the leader at the center (or at the top).
This leadership is hard to encourage, hard to replicate, and hard to keep going once it is started.
But it’s the only leadership work worth moving toward, as the structural problems and issues resulting from engrained poor leadership practices of the 20th century continues to unravel before our eyes and ears.