Hero to Zero

hero_to_zeroThe Greek word ‘paraklesis’ loosely means to come alongside to encourage and help. One definition reads… “That which affords comfort, solace or refreshment.” I like it.
It occurs to me that this sums up the notion of ‘relational practice’ really well.

From Hero to Zero
The ‘hero’ model (leader with all the answers) is changing faster than we can shake a stick.

Increasingly, the notion of ‘hero’ and ‘command and control’ is being replaced by the idea that leadership should be concerned with creating positive social patterns of relationship that enables groups of people to act collectively and purposefully.

It has become axiomatic that change is rapid and constant. To adapt to the pace of change, organisations need to be more flexible and agile. One way of doing this is to push decision-making “down the hierarchy” and to introduce ways of aligning people with strategic goals. There is no better way of doing this than co-creating these goals!

Indeed, as globalisation and the information revolution threaten to overwhelm us, there is a need to pay attention to the wisdom of groups, and, to help people collectively make sense of the bewildering array of information. In this context leadership should be about engaging people in inquiry and creating the conditions for collective possibilities. To do this, the leader needs to be able to create a culture that genuinely supports participation through empowerment, trust and collaboration.

In the present economic climate, it is tempting for leaders to unilaterally implement turnaround strategies based on hard economic facts and to leave the soft human solutions to later, when there is the luxury of time.

This is knee jerk city. The research on employee engagement does not support this view. There is ample evidence that it is more effective to integrate hard economic-based change strategies with relational practice. This moves us away from the ‘either-or’ argument (eg, profits or people; survival today or building for tomorrow) to a more holistic ‘both-and’ position.

Seeing believing!
I have seen it work and that’s why I am telling this story! The opportunity to hear the voice of the whole system they are a part of, brings out the best in people -— dialogue becomes more collaborative, visioning becomes more creative and owned, and energy is unleashed in the form of voluntary action.


About gohbyname

I am a ‘People Practitioner’ who has, over the years, been swept up by the tidal wave of change that has seen my profession go from being called Manpower Management to Personnel Management to Human Resource Management, and now back, well sort of… to Systemic People Management. I came up with the last phrase because I find myself increasingly uncomfortable with working within the confines of the ubiquitous neo-liberal approach to categorising and organising people. I believe that people are people, not merely assets, human capital or resources. While we do find fulfilment from PRODUCTivity, we are ultimately human beings, not human doings. I would like to transcend who we have become and becoming in a marketized, monetarised world and leave the corporatist worldview that reminds me so much of the allegory of Plato’s Cave. I love God, my family, playing guitar, following Arsenal, travelling and taking and editing photos. This website is a celebration of all these things and more.
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