In a hyper-technical and hyper-technological society, such as the current one, the construction of new leadership philosophy models can find an important basis in philosophical thought.
The philosophy to respond to the challenges that await managers
In a current context in which the life of organizations is marked by the increasingly fast pace of technological innovation, the importance of recovering a central role for the human being is becoming increasingly evident.
Up to now , leadership theories have had two major matrices: economic theory , based on productive results. And psychology , essentially based on the concept of motivation and engagement of people. However, more and more workers today are questioning higher issues, which transcend productivity alone.
In this sense, the purpose of organizations acquires importance. This responds to the need of individuals to identify themselves in the purpose of the companies for which they work, setting themselves the goal of pursuing the good – not just economic – of society.
The most interesting aspect is the moral character of the great managerial challenges of the current context. Precisely this moral side leads philosophy, with its intrinsic anthropological dimension, to be particularly useful in dealing with complex choices.
The challenge for today’s leaders is to build a leadership model. A model that suited to respond to people’s new needs. In this it can be useful to recover a philosophical thought that gives depth to the discussion and helps to find answers to the complex managerial challenges that await companies.
There are many theories developed to try to explain and understand leadership and leaders. These theories include: feature theory, situational theory, great man theory, behavioral theories, contingency theories, and transactional theory. These theories attempt to explain leadership based on traits, characteristics, behavior, and personality. A common feature of dominant theories is the notion that, to a certain extent, leadership is a process that involves influencing people in order to achieve a common goal. I’m going to share three theories that have influenced my understanding of leadership and leaders.
A service leadership
Within the organizational context, the task of the leader is to build an environment in which people can best express their potential. An atmosphere that fosters curiosity, risk-taking, enthusiasm and passion for one’s work.
As the German philosopher Immanuel Kant underlined, “man must always be considered as an end, never as a means”. A leader must always ask himself: what must my leadership model be to have a positive impact on people? Power must not be a lever through which to achieve personal ambitions, but an instrument of service available to others.
The ability to listen and to build authentic relationships with people emerges as a necessity. Today there are still too many legacies of narcissistic leadership models, where power is only a means of affirming oneself and relationships can have experience as purely functional transactions.
The ultimate goal of leadership is therefore to put oneself at the service of others. Whether they are collaborators, customers or society in a broader sense – to allow people to give their best.
The strength of the example to convey values
Ethics is an intangible dimension. To transmit values and draw a common horizon of reference within an organization, it is not enough to communicate continuously as a mantra.
To give strength to a value, it must be put into practice . At KPMG we believe that to make people internalize our culture, our ideas it is necessary to leverage the strength of example: ‘Leading by example’.
In this way the purpose becomes shared and acquires an even greater force of impact.
To understand this, leaders need to get out of the verticality and mere technicality of their task. To be a true leader you need to combine traditional managerial and managerial skills. He should also have ability to open up to others. Learn to share power in decision making and create an environment based on mutual trust.