The Incomplete Leader



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Leadership > Best Practices > The Incomplete Leader

The Incomplete Leader
I noticed a new perspective on leadership methods in HBR Feb 07 by Deborah Ancona c.s. She argues no human being is perfect and no leader can be perfect. So maybe its for the best to stop trying to be a perfect leader. Leaders should find others who can offset their limitations and complement their strenghts. A framework of distributed leadership is provided. This leadership model mentions 4 important capabilities: sensemaking, relating, visioning and inventing. Do you agree we should stop expecting so much of leaders in organizations?

The incomplete leader
Very sensible observation. The concept of distributed leadership is practicable and also ensures participation and ownership across the team.

Incomplete Leader
The idea presented by Donald is such an important idea. I see too many leadership coaches come in and create expectations that no one could ever satisfy. The idea of building a leadership team to complement strengths is important. Not only does it address limitations of each leader but it also enhances the organizations capability to respond to emerging situatons better. Different situations require different leadership styles, by building a team with complementary strengths dramatically increases an organizations ability to deal with different circumstances.

The Incomplete Leader
Debbie Payne
The question, should we stop expecting so much of leaders in organizations, as related to being the "perfect leader" strikes me as odd in some ways. My sense is we should be expecting more of leaders, not perfection, but more different leadership and leadership that is holistic, with a stronger focus on development of employees as leaders. We need the the right leaders in the right positions at the right time AND we need them to recognize this, and recognize when they need to move to another place/time to contribute in new ways.

Incomplete Leader
Odukoya S.O.A.
I think what we should be talking about is not a perfect leader but perfect leadership, and I will like to inform you that there is perfect leadership BUT that is something only the Holy Spirit can do in a mortal man.

Self Aware Thus Completed Leader
I also agree with Donald on distributed leadership. Each and every "great leader" has limitations, just like every human being. The difference is that they are self-conscious of these limitations and found a way (through people / organization / environment) to offset them. The true leader is surrounded by good people who compensate his/her weaknesses.

Incomplete Leader
I believe, no human is perfect and so no Leader is a perfect because he/she is a human being. BUT I believe there is a PERFECT LEADERSHIP. Leadership in simple term is how you move people towards development. If people around you have reached that development each of them desires, then your leadership is perfect!

Incomplete Leader > Perfect Leader
Adedeh, Consultant, Kenya, Member
A leader is one who paints a picture of the future and prospects in such a way that employees are motivated to accomplish such defined goals. Alone the leader is nothing, but when there is effective leadership, mind you this is more than the leader, then the issue of perfect leadership comes in. The group is able to achieve much more beyond their wildest dreams if they take out their personal limitations and focus more on achieving the vision at hand.

Incomplete Leader????
Gregory Johnson, Coach, United States, Premium Member
@Donald: What a curious question. Leadership by definition lacks definition. As such, there can be NO perfect leader. However, if we are to speak to the topic of success or professional success we may be close to a topic far more pervasive than "Incomplete Leader".
As Arnaud states, "self-consciousness" is an educated reference to self awareness. One who manages from a position of self and environmental awareness is usually ahead of the game. Critical to being ahead of the game even with self awareness is to avoid any hint of narcissism.
There are many that are in leadership positions believing in themselves to the point of staging settings of self gratification.
Self awareness and self-consciousness are keys to most effective leadership. The management of these two keys is important in engaging others, systems and organizations effectively.

Incomplete Leaders
eustace n wachira, Kenya, Member
Many times those in position of leadership do not recognize how incomplete they are. They assume to have all what it takes for their positions. I have noted that people with ideas do not have power and authority.
It is necessary to accept that we have deficiencies. A leader should therefore fill the gap with expertise of others and utilize their qualities.


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