The (Mis-matched) Accidental Leader

This week at #LeadershipChat on Twitter (Tuesday nights, 8 pm ET), we’re going to talk about leaders who are put into a position of leadership – and maybe they don’t really belong there according the “normal” rules.

My co-moderator Lisa Petrilli has written a wonderful post, in observance of President’s Day, on how many of our national forefathers were thrust into a position of leadership (ready or not) and rose to the occasion, changing the world in the process.

For my part, I want to focus here on the broader theme of how individual people and specific leadership roles may not match well. There may be an accident – happy or not – where someone doesn’t really seem to fit into the shoes of a leader. Now what do you do?

Do you give that person space to grow into the role? Or do you quickly admit the mistake and find a different role for that person, and a different leader for the group?

There is no simple answer, but let’s make it even more complicated! Please take a few minutes to read this provocative blog post by Gary Hamel in the Wall Street Journal, on Inventing Management 2.0.  Here’s a quick taste:

Management 1.0 was built to encourage reliability, predictability, discipline, alignment and control. These will always be important organizational virtues, but in most industries, getting better at these things won’t yield much of an upside.  That’s why our management systems need to be re-engineered around the goals of adaptability, innovation, engagement and accountability—which brings us back to the issue of leadership.

Let’s face it – not only do we have the challenge of find the right leader for the organization, we also will increasingly have the challenge of organizational systems that need to be thoroughly changed – calling for leaders who are not functionaries, but revolutionaries.

The business world, and its structures, are changing very rapidly. We may have a lot of mis-matched managers and leaders in the coming days. How do we re-imagine leadership in the world of the future? Join us to discuss a world of leadership that may become far less predictable – but where there may be many more “accidental leaders” whose talent and nimbleness give them outsized influence, and force them to wear outsized shoes.


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About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

3 Responses to The (Mis-matched) Accidental Leader

  1. Jeanne Male says:

    Steve, you neatly summarize the corporate change and personal growth that I have been evangelizing and creating. This passage could serve as our new mantra “…our management systems need to be re-engineered around the goals of adaptability, innovation, engagement and accountability” – a resounding yes!

  2. Joseph Ruiz says:

    thanks for sharing i loved the Gary Hamel article. There were a couple of pretty significant quotes in there. A lot to think about. Great fodder for the chat tonight.
    See ya there.

  3. Isn’t success for a business generally made up of this equation: Right leader with the Right vision at the Right time in the Right Place? That is what I have always been taught. I think it matches what you are saying here.

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