Redefining Leadership for a New Era
A lot models of effective leadership that we consume from the leadership industry do little more than apply concepts that were defined generations ago, and fitting them into modernity. There is often little said in our conceptualization of leadership that wasn’t in fact said centuries ago. So a question arises, where has the innovation been in the leadership industry? I decided to write this article to catalyze conversations around what leadership should look like in the workplace of the future.
In defining new styles of leadership, we should determine motivation and the individual’s relationship with power. Are they power seeking or power averse? This core motivator is fundamental to understanding this list. Here are my 4 leadership styles for effective management in 2023:
- The Brute. This leader has always inherently sought power. They love it, and become addicted to its corruptive power much more quickly than all other leaders. They exhibit behaviors that we’ve all been socialized into knowing are terrible human attributes, yet given our social structure, they are most incentivized and able to attain positions of power. Want to hold this leader accountable? Good luck! They hold no remorse for their actions and are willing to use any means at their disposal to intimidate or coerce their subjects to do their bidding.
- The Vengeful Tyrant. This leader has been egregiously wronged in the past. Often a lot of their behaviors overlap with that of the Brute, but the key difference is that this leader is motivated by a lust for revenge for past harm. The thirst for power can be rooted in anything from unhealed trauma all the way to a legitimate rejection from what they perceived was a potential partner. This person should seek therapy, you ask? Nice try! Power is their therapy.
- The Useful Idiot. Now we pivot from individuals who inherently seek power to ones that are terrified of it, the power averse leader. The Useful Idiot is the reluctant leader, the one who was chosen for their lack of interest or even fear of leadership itself. They are wildly incompetent, which makes them perfect for the role. Useful idiots are frozen still at the thought of any of the attributes that come with wielding power. This “leader” is someone who is typically manipulated and guided by figures who hold true power and wish to remain in the shadows. Useful idiots also serve as incredible fall guys…