Organizations do not require their leaders to be heroes, nor should they be sidekicks. To use a DC Comic reference organizations need more Commissioner Gordon’s than either Batman or Robin; placing good people in positions where they can do the most good. In that vein, leaders who are able to foster diverse groups with individuals who are collaboratively knowledgeable with a service-to-other orientation have the best chance of success (Stagich, 2006). Technical expertise is important, but not as important as the knowledge of collaborative and social learning systems in choosing people who can facilitate lasting change in an organization and contribute to leadership development at every level (Stagich, 2006).
Having charisma, whatever that may be, may be useful in certain situations and I am not discounting the benefits of such. However, I do argue that what is now most often considered the all-important quality of leadership is all about being able to energize people who are lethargic or skeptical (Khurana, 2002). In other words, organizations are attempting to fix what they destroyed; trust, commitment, and caring with superficial platitudes of vision and mission. What is needed is not emotion, what is needed is the restoration of values that all in the organization can hold onto while performing their tasks while at the same time delivering these values to their customers. These values can be addressed by developing and promoting a different type of leadership competency model that does not ignore technical acumen but does place it as a secondary concern. The model identifies the required leadership competence areas as envisioning, engaging, enabling, inquiring and developing. The personal characteristics of this type of leader are seen as authenticity, integrity, will, self-belief, self-awareness (Iles & Preece, 2006), and humility.
Iles, P., & Preece, D. (2006). Developing leaders or developing leadership? The Academy of Chief Executives’ programmes in the North East of England. Leadership, 2(3), 317-340.
Khurana, R. (2002). Searching for a corporate savior: The irrational quest for charismatic CEOs. Princeton University Press.
Stagich, T. (2006). Collaborative leadership and global transformation: Developing collaborative leaders and high synergy organizations. Global Leadership Resources.