Leadertarios: leadership as a team

Juan Luis Polo

14 April 2015

We tend to christen streets, scientific laws, illnesses and vaccines and philosophic and sociological concepts with the names of great people. Giving eponyms is a human feature that defines us and highlights our predisposition to search for heroes, myths and leaders. Reality is something else. Progress, scientific advancement, knowledge and civilisation in general are built step-by-step, by means of contributions from thousands of people who didn’t make the final discovery, but who did provide an essential element to a previous one. Or who made their contribution to posterity anonymously.

Herbert Spencer counter-attacked Carlyle’s “Great Man” theory, according to which the history of Humanity was moulded by great leaders of an almost “divine” origin.

“You must admit that the genesis of a great man depends on the long series of complex influences which has produced the race in which he appears, and the social state into which that race as slowly grown…Before he can remake his society, his society must make him.”

Herbert Spencer, The Study of Sociology

Both if it is an orchestrated work, and if we add individual actions together, a holistic vision is necessary in order to conceive swarming throughout the organisation. After a quick trip to Accenture, Eleazar Santos (@eleazarsantos), a Tecerian strategist, told us the following:

“A leader is not he who holds the highest position on an organisational chart, but rather each one of the people who, within a composition, play a role and make it so the whole is greater than the sum of the different parts. One may be a technician, specialist or team-management leader or a leader in ultimately attaining a goal. A leader in a community competes against the best version of him or herself and helps their surroundings to grow. They do not fear others learning, providing them with tools and feeding their curiosity and a will to overcome so as to challenge themselves. They share, teach and learn…this is he or she who knows when they are to play a solo on the instrument at hand, and manages to play the most delicate note, to shine. And this is how, in the success of others, their greatness is shown.”

General Dave Palmer from Westpoint said: “Give me anyone, except for a schizophrenic, and I’ll make a leader out of him.”

“The famous Academy always defended that leadership, like creativity, is not genetic and is within anyone’s reach. The leadership we’re proposing is neither heroic nor elitist. In their facet as temporary leader, each member of a cooperative community has a decisive influence and generates a global result.

Having reached this point, let’s remember the most visible leaders. The community won’t follow them if they only aspire to personal glory. Every leader needs a community: to inspire them, to encourage them, to correct them, and to make them stronger. Every community needs leaders. The more, the better.

Every community needs leaders. Every leader needs their community.

Excerpt From: Fernando Polo and Juan Luis Polo. “#Leadertarians.” iBooks.