Strategy & LeadershipRipping up the leadership rule book: Why classic models for leadership no longer work

Ripping up the leadership rule book: Why classic models for leadership no longer work

Rob Cross, next gen leadership coach, founder and CEO of Muru Leadership explains why the most powerful thing you can do as a leader is forget everything you’ve been told and follow your instincts.

Pick up any newspaper, browse any website and you’ll find countless reports and features on how you can be a better leader.

This week alone I’ve read half a dozen such articles, all conflicting in advice, but each promising the answer and the holy grail to all our leadership woes.

Often, they allude to inspirational business leaders such as Steve Jobs, Elon Musk or Richard Branson, encouraging us to emulate the character traits of these individuals in order to be the next big thing in business.

My advice?  Rip them up.

They are all fundamentally flawed.

Why?

Because they all fail to recognise our humanity and our own personal reality in life and at work.

Sorry to burst the bubble, but when it comes to leadership, there is no quick fix. No one-size-fits-all solution.  The notion that in order to be a great leader, we need to tick boxes on a  certain list of criteria is a one-way road to disappointment.

All it does is set unrealistic expectations of what we, as individuals, believe a great leader should look like, and adds extra pressure to those of us already suffering from imposter syndrome.

Let me be frank.  I truly admire the brilliant business achievements and unprecedented success of all these individuals, most of whom started out from humble beginnings.

But let’s remember they are all far from perfect.

What's Hot

HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for the Hybrid World

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for the Hybrid World 5 May 2022

1m

HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for...

Attracting new talent is shooting up the priority list, but also proving more difficult than ever. After the effort of finding the right person, are w...

View event
HRD Roundtable Report: Redefining Company Culture in Hybrid Work Environments

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Redefining Company Culture in Hybrid Work Environments 26 May 2022

1m

HRD Roundtable Report: Redefining Company Culture ...

The process of redefining a company culture is a complex one. Culture contributes directly to the day-to-day experience of employees, and many leaders...

View event
Learning to win the talent war: how digital marketing can develop its people

Whitepaper | Talent Development Learning to win the talent war: how digital marketing can develop its people

2m

Learning to win the talent war: how digital market...

This report documents the findings of a Fireside chat held by ClickZ in the first quarter of 2022. It provides expert insight on how companies can ret...

View resource
HRD Roundtable Report: Strategies For Re-Engaging The Hybrid Workforce

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Strategies For Re-Engaging The Hybrid Workforce 5 May 2022

2m

HRD Roundtable Report: Strategies For Re-Engaging ...

We know hybrid working is here to stay, forcing many organisations to experiment with innovative and creative strategies from 4-day working weeks to u...

View event
HRD Roundtable Report: Making it ‘Worth It’ – What We Need to Reward, Engage and Retain

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Making it ‘Worth It’ – What We Need to Reward, Engage and Retain 3 March 2022

2m

HRD Roundtable Report: Making it ‘Worth It’ – What...

We know the pandemic has caused many people to revaluate their careers and relationships with work and have been seeing the impact in global trends in...

View event
Dave Ulrich: How can business and HR leaders simplify complexity?

Leadership Development Dave Ulrich: How can business and HR leaders simplify complexity?

5m Dave Ulrich

Dave Ulrich: How can business and HR leaders simpl...

HR thought leader Dave Ulrich outlines ways leaders can deal with complexity in an increasingly busy world, including how to think critically and turn...

View article
HRD Roundtable Report: Using HR Data to Inform Organisational Decision Making

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Using HR Data to Inform Organisational Decision Making 5 May 2022

2m

HRD Roundtable Report: Using HR Data to Inform Org...

Historically, HR hasn’t been as effective as it could be in sharing and communicating data with wider teams. It’s paramount that we remove the self-in...

View event
Digital transformation investment grows but critical skills gaps remain - Coursera report

Digital HR Digital transformation investment grows but critical skills gaps remain - Coursera report

5m Leah Belsky

Digital transformation investment grows but critic...

Covid-19 has accelerated the rate of digital learning on a global scale. Coursera's latest report provides an update on employee proficiency in a numb...

View article
Wellbeing in the hybrid workplace: how to successfully drive engagement

Employee Engagement Wellbeing in the hybrid workplace: how to successfully drive engagement

6m Alara Basul | Sponsored

Wellbeing in the hybrid workplace: how to successf...

Remote working has impacted the way we communicate as a workforce, but striking the right balance between creating an engaged workforce and a successf...

View article
How to create a company culture capable of empowering the modern workforce

Culture How to create a company culture capable of empowering the modern workforce

6m Alara Basul | Sponsored

How to create a company culture capable of empower...

While new working patterns that emerged from the pandemic have earned a permanent spot in the workplace, creating a purpose-driven culture based ...

View article
WATCH: Connection and collaboration in a hybrid workplace

Leadership Learnings WATCH: Connection and collaboration in a hybrid workplace

6m Amy Kirkham

WATCH: Connection and collaboration in a hybrid wo...

Alison Noon-Jones, VP of People & Culture at Leidos UK & Europe, shares how crucial employee engagement and participation is when shaping the people s...

View article
Turbulence ahead: Why it’s time to be bold in your leadership

Leadership Development Turbulence ahead: Why it’s time to be bold in your leadership

6m Terence Mauri

Turbulence ahead: Why it’s time to be bold in your...

HRD thought leader and Hack Future Lab founder Terence Mauri sets out why the biggest risk to leadership is not turbulence itself, but leading with ye...

View article

It’s widely known Jobs at times had a tyrannical and spiteful temper, and for all that is reported on Branson’s altruism and buccaneering ‘can do’ approach to challenging the status quo, there’s whispers from other camps that a lot of his achievements have been built on publicity stunts and empty, rarely fulfilled promises.

Does this make them bad business leaders?

In my opinion, no.

It does however show, that just like the rest of us, they too are human beings battling their own insecurities and demons. But by continuing the practise of putting people on pedestals, we’re just giving ourselves a bad case of hero complex and perpetuating the belief we have to be super human to achieve greatness in business.

In this unprecedented age of rapid change and acceleration, we as leaders need to recognise and accept that classic leadership models are broken.  Relying on an outdated Victorian ‘great man’ philosophy that is no longer fit for purpose in the 21st Century just sets us all up to fail.

Though I can’t predict or shape the experiences or pressures each individual leader will face, I do believe there is an alternative solution.  I believe our ability to lead through this present age of uncertainty will be defined by the courage and conviction we have in our humanity. If we strip back to the heart of who we are and our purpose, we can realise our true potential as individuals and leaders in life and in work.

Unpicking centuries of male dominated leadership is no mean feat, but it is possible and simpler than you think.  To create this type of impact, when I work with leaders, I challenge them to ask these 3 simple questions:

  • Who am I?

  • Why am I here?

  • How do I lead and live?

The purpose of this is twofold. Firstly, it helps people understand the true drivers of our human behaviour, our human dilemmas. These are the inescapable aspects that sit below our beliefs and values, which make us human.

We then use these drivers to help leaders find greater courage and conviction in their identity, their purpose and, ultimately, how they practice and show leadership. The goal is to help individuals identify the personal story they have to tell that defines them, and from which they can draw strength and reset their mindset to recognise that we are all human beings leading other human beings.

How does this work in practise?  Rather than use our energy trying to live up to the standards set by previous generations of so called inspirational leaders, and even those we set ourselves, we can unlock our true potential by focussing instead on our strengths and the positive contribution we can make to others.

So next time you chance across an article giving you a checklist of the things you need to do to be an effective leader, why not save yourself the time and trouble of reading something that ultimately isn’t going to help?  Put your newspaper down, close your laptop and instead spend five minutes focusing on answering your own three questions.  Trust me, it will be time much better spent.

For more information on Muru Leadership visit www.muruleadership.com or follow us at linkedin.com/muru-leadership


About Rob Cross

Rob is the founder and CEO of Muru – a next generation leadership coaching and development consultancy that aims to debunk redundant models of what it means to be a leader, and help individuals, teams and groups unlock their true potential.

20% psychologist, 10% agony aunt, 30% motivational speaker, 40% bullshit detector and 100% Dad and Husband, Rob’s no-nonsense approach to life and business makes him a refreshingly human leadership expert and mentor in today’s ever evolving and changing business landscape.

Bringing together his 20 years of hands on leadership, and practical experience of developing others, Rob researched, designed and launched Muru Leadership and ‘The 3 Questions’ ™.  In today’s age of acceleration, where the classic definitions of being a leader are no longer working, ‘The 3 Questions’ ™  methodology helps individuals and teams build greater courage and conviction in their own leadership, empowering them to lead and achieve higher levels of success and fulfilment both at work, and in life. 

Comments are closed.

What's Hot

HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for the Hybrid World

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for the Hybrid World 5 May 2022

1m

HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for...

Attracting new talent is shooting up the priority list, but also proving more difficult than ever. After the effort of finding the right person, are w...

View event
HRD Roundtable Report: Redefining Company Culture in Hybrid Work Environments

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Redefining Company Culture in Hybrid Work Environments 26 May 2022

1m

HRD Roundtable Report: Redefining Company Culture ...

The process of redefining a company culture is a complex one. Culture contributes directly to the day-to-day experience of employees, and many leaders...

View event
Learning to win the talent war: how digital marketing can develop its people

Whitepaper | Talent Development Learning to win the talent war: how digital marketing can develop its people

2m

Learning to win the talent war: how digital market...

This report documents the findings of a Fireside chat held by ClickZ in the first quarter of 2022. It provides expert insight on how companies can ret...

View resource
HRD Roundtable Report: Strategies For Re-Engaging The Hybrid Workforce

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Strategies For Re-Engaging The Hybrid Workforce 5 May 2022

2m

HRD Roundtable Report: Strategies For Re-Engaging ...

We know hybrid working is here to stay, forcing many organisations to experiment with innovative and creative strategies from 4-day working weeks to u...

View event
HRD Roundtable Report: Making it ‘Worth It’ – What We Need to Reward, Engage and Retain

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Making it ‘Worth It’ – What We Need to Reward, Engage and Retain 3 March 2022

2m

HRD Roundtable Report: Making it ‘Worth It’ – What...

We know the pandemic has caused many people to revaluate their careers and relationships with work and have been seeing the impact in global trends in...

View event
Dave Ulrich: How can business and HR leaders simplify complexity?

Leadership Development Dave Ulrich: How can business and HR leaders simplify complexity?

5m Dave Ulrich

Dave Ulrich: How can business and HR leaders simpl...

HR thought leader Dave Ulrich outlines ways leaders can deal with complexity in an increasingly busy world, including how to think critically and turn...

View article
HRD Roundtable Report: Using HR Data to Inform Organisational Decision Making

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Using HR Data to Inform Organisational Decision Making 5 May 2022

2m

HRD Roundtable Report: Using HR Data to Inform Org...

Historically, HR hasn’t been as effective as it could be in sharing and communicating data with wider teams. It’s paramount that we remove the self-in...

View event
Digital transformation investment grows but critical skills gaps remain - Coursera report

Digital HR Digital transformation investment grows but critical skills gaps remain - Coursera report

5m Leah Belsky

Digital transformation investment grows but critic...

Covid-19 has accelerated the rate of digital learning on a global scale. Coursera's latest report provides an update on employee proficiency in a numb...

View article