Be the leader you wish you had
By Charlie Britten
03 Dec 2019
Leadership is a major topic in business and one that has produced any number of articles, opinions and models, but is leadership really just about what those in positions of authority do?
The answer is no, according to Simon Sinek, author of The Infinite Game. Speaking at a LinkedIn event about his book and the theory in it, he discussed various ways in which leadership can contribute to the nurturing of an ‘infinite game’ mindset. This is an acknowledgement that business should not be all about short term goals, but flexibility to deal with a game of many players and changing rules.
Why does leadership not always come from the top?
Discussing leadership, he suggested there is much that those who are not in positions of control can do, saying people can "be the leader you wish you had”.
Mr Sinek said this can be a particularly valuable approach for people who are working under management that is not infinitely minded.
- He explained: "Leadership is nothing to do with rank or hierarchy. I know many people who sit at the highest levels of organisations who are not leaders. They have authority, which is why we do what they tell us, but we would never follow them and we really don’t trust them.”
- By contrast, he observed, there are people who have no "rank or authority”, but who set out to help those around them, adding: "We would trust them and follow them anywhere.”
- Therefore, he concluded, everyone has the opportunity to be the leader they wished they had, by taking "the responsibility to see those around us rise”.
What impact can being the leader you always wanted have?
Mr Sinek observed that this can be transformational, as what happens in such situations is that groups emerge within organisations that everyone wants to work with.
- As members of this group move to other parts of the firm, they start having a positive impact there until their influence has spread enough to transform the company culture.
- This is change that comes from the grassroots of a firm, not from the top.
- The author suggested that as people with an infinite minded approach in one firm move to others and start to influence their cultures as well, it is possible that over the next couple of decades they could have a "profound influence” on the nature of business.
The thought is certainly a radical one and, by its very nature, it will challenge the status quo. However, that may not be a bad thing because it can enable firms to take a more infinite minded approach. In his talk, Mr Sinek discussed how many firms that used to be leaders in their industry have fallen by the wayside because they were not able to adjust to changing times and new challenges, while firms such as Ford were saved by having infinite minded leaders such as Alan Mulally.
An infinite mindset will prevent that. By expanding the focus beyond the narrow demands of this quarter’s balance sheet, it can allow for better trust and communication with both colleagues and clients - the latter being particularly important if you are to provide a great service.
Furthermore, it can also foster the kind of long-term approach that appreciates how target markets are changing and how marketing and the development of products and services needs to keep up with this. It is by neglecting to do this that established companies lose their way.
It may be that the emergence of a new kind of ‘leadership’ at all levels could be the most important factor helping some firms to avoid such a fate, by developing a culture of trust, responsibility and infinite mindedness.
Why BeUniqueness helps you nurture leadership at all levels
BeUniqueness is committed to helping firms who want to develop in a way that helps them prosper in a changing world, particularly through the use of modern digital marketing in place of the obsolete traditional methods that are now of little use to SMEs.
Combined with an infinite mindset and a determination to offer leadership at all levels, your firm could make the most of a new digital marketing strategy to grow and enjoy a great return on investment.