running into a wall leadership in the future Organization development by mike cardus

Someone asked:

How will leadership change in the future, with the millennium generation coming into management positions and the changes from disruptive technologies?

My response:

I don’t know. It will look very similar to whatever effective leadership has been since we constructed the concept of leadership.

Effective leadership does not change – the managers, consultants, and authors change their description to create a false sense of loss (language games) that can manipulate others to believe that they are at a loss and this person, the guru-leader, has some answer.

Leadership exists in the context of how it is exercised. Sports-leadership is much different than managerial-leadership. The core factors will continue to be dependent upon the context and interactional needs. The environmental conditions within which the individual leader is useful to others through – the complexity of information processing, values, skilled-knowledge, wisdom – equaling a current-applied-capacity of the individual.

All of this is only effective when the organization has a structure to allow people to get work done – without the silly bull-shit and power games.

They responded:

Leadership must evolve accordingly to stay relevant and useful. Our expectations around work and our work behaviors are changing; particularly with regards to hierarchy, culture, collaboration, teaming, creativity, autonomy, and the meaning or organizational success.

My response:

People are social, and our understanding of who can help me solve a challenge or add value to my work remains constant. As we go through fads and phases of “leadership,” the common core remains the same.

This language of “must evolve” is a marketing tool that causes others to think that there is an ideal solution or a world of Platonic forms that’s separate from us, and we need philosopher-kings, leadership gurus, to decipher our transference to the leadership.

Evolution is a non-teleological (not goal-focused) pursuit – and the world of work is a construct developed by humans. We cannot have ‘leadership’ separate from its parts. And, ‘millennium’ leadership will be similar to what worked during the early hominid, to industrialization through knowledge work and beyond. Leadership at any time will be – who can help me solve a challenge or add value to my work.