If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed at the decisions you face as a leader, you’re not alone. It’s not just you. The task of leadership in modern culture is so monumental, no one person can do it.
In fact, the “lone genius” is fast becoming a myth. Tesla, Edison, and Jobs were anomalies. Once-in-a-generation types. They made decisions in a world very much different than the one we live in.
Leadership, by necessity, is changing.
For instance, companies like Atlassian, Morningstar Farms, and GoreTex have leadership systems in place with no bosses. That’s right, employees self-govern. Peer groups do everything from hand out raises to sign off on large purchase orders with no middle man.
To ensure efficiency and prevent anarchy, divisions are divided into sub-units (or, to borrow a term from Seth Godin, tribes). Every decision you make as an employee will be reviewed by your peers. You are responsible to those around you. They determine your rise and fall.
In these companies, the corner office is a myth. Organizational power has been put back into the hands of the employees.
These radical systems of decentralization won’t work for all organizations. At least not now.
But what happens when decentralization becomes a necessity? What happens when the rate at which decisions need to be made outpace the established hierarchical pattern for making said decisions?
The shift towards social (and by “social,” I mean much more than social networks) has created an explosion of information and connectivity. The gatekeepers are gone. The role of middle management, even upper management, is morphing out of necessity.
Leadership is everyone’s responsibility now. Everyone has a circle of influence, big or small, that needs leading. This new leadership model has the power to topple governments, build orphanages, and make a 9-year-old’s day.
The question is: What are you doing with your influence?