July 3, 2013
We have and will continue to lose invaluable contributors to our global ecosystem. The response often is to find a replacement to take up the mantle but yet, the secret sauce or the leader’s factor X is not defined nor easily understood as to how, why and what produced their style of thinking and charisma. The expressed void established upon the loss of leadership produces a need for succession. The greatest of leaders are not so easily replaced. The complexity of leadership is the study of the ages. The great warriors, spiritual, business, organizational and political leaders have transformed systems and philosophies overtime. Their impact is definitive and purposed in change, social justice, development and implementation delivering a new culture or mastery that is adopted by the masses.
Leaders produce and leave a inextricable footprint that is not replaceable but can be repurposed by one or many. The task of those left behind is to understand the value proposition and mission to determine what resources are required to repurpose the resources to support the leadership in part. Leaders such as, Nelson Mandela cannot be replaced. The sacrifice, dream, journey and mental models are understood within the various repositories of those he has touched.
It was my honor to travel to South Africa and go to Robben Island to see the tiny cell of Mandela. Imagine sea air coming into the cell the size a little bigger than a cot. Everyday, this was his reality where he hid his writings under a rock living, visualizing and implementing a mission within his mind before its reality.
Leaders envision the possibilities of what is before the reality is made real. The continuity and persistence to see what is invisible to others and persist on a journey is a individual discipline to manage the internal against the external.
The ability to manage the internal vision against the external nay sayers is what future and existing leaders such as, Mandela, Steve Jobs, Einstein, Da Vinci, Mahatma Ghandi, Benjamin Franklin and the other guru voices hold. They persist against the dogma or insistence from others that this is not the time or other held beliefs that resist change.
The question continues are leaders born or made. Leaders are forged in alternative reality born out the current state that is forcing them to change beyond the scope of the tangible. Leaders drive this reality until followers are found synthesizing their legitimacy as authentic leaders.
Extraordinary leaders move beyond legitimate forms of leadership to carve out an undefined space that is viewed as a matrix interacting across systems and platforms that are extrusive, thrusting and invasive with depth. Extraordinary leaders produce penetration points and gain change velocity.
The types of leaderships forms and styles that we traditionally identify within the construct of leadership are defined as, Coercive, Charismatic and Conventional. Each construct is based on the model of power and sometimes born of the time. Leaders arise out of need or vision of potential probable need.
Coercive leadership is taken by force. “They stay in power as long as they can defeat or deter challengers, which requires that the leader is the strongest, literally or in the sense of being the most ruthless. There is a top-down power structure that keeps the majority in line by reminding them that they have no choice.”
Charismatic leadership is perceived as being the “best at whatever is the aim of the organization. Followers follow the leader because they value their inspiration and direction. Any challengers would have to demonstrate superior ability, rather than attack the leader as such.”
Conventional leadership is the “kind found in democratic states and other large, mature organizations. The leader has no distinguishing characteristics other than fairness and commitment.”
Now, consider the life of Nelson Mandela who is able to be all three of these forms, as well as leader X that cannot be identified. It is time to honor his gifts and repurpose what is accessible and defined. Next, is to repurpose some of the known leadership values and persist that vision to deliver a new form of leadership based on the work of an extraordinary leader.
The work of Nelson Mandela is honored and he will indeed be missed and forever appreciated for his extraordinary contribution to changing the world construct.
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