Reflections on leadership

Lars Rosengren
Jun 12, 2019 · 3 min read
Photo by Kiana Bosman on Unsplash

When we hear about leadership, we typically imagine the strong leaders standing up, taking a stance and showing the way. Leadership often assumes a title and authority to stand above others. This view of leadership isn’t likely to go away any time soon, as it’s deeply ingrained in history and culture. It is of course not incorrect, yet in today’s context, this view of leadership has become outdated and far too narrow. I have been curious to start an exploration on what is at the heart of leadership, and how could we look at leadership in a more multifaceted way.

What is leadership?

There are many definitions of what leadership is in multiple contexts, but there are some consistent themes(Ref). Typically, these components are essential:

  • A level of influence, social influence, rather than authority and power

A different perspective

With this in mind, there may be many people in some form of leadership role that are not typically recognised as a leaders, and probably many assumed to be leaders that actually lack the core qualities of true leadership.

Imagine the following examples:

  • Activists (e.g. Malala, Greta Thunberg) — Often doing the inconvenient, to get our attention, sometimes at their own expense. They create debate and engage a lot of people topics that matters to all of us.

Irrespective of how recognised they may be, it is worth exploring the significance of such non-obvious roles of leadership, and sometimes challenge those with formal leadership titles to be accountable for leadership they represent.

This is a starting point for me to explore a new perspective on leadership, and dig a bit further into what a 21st century view of leadership might look like. In order to so, however, I think it’s important to first challenge what leadership is (including my own interpretation) and perhaps why present days leaders don’t fully live up to the kind of leadership needed (some food for through from Umair Haique), in a world of climate change, fake news, isolationism and polarisation etc. I don’t expect to have all the answers, but hope to share my ideas and engage a few people in discussion, to explore the topic.

(Ref) Inspired by Kevin Kruse — What is leadership?, Lolly Daskal — 100 Answers to the Question: What Is Leadership? and bits and pieces of personal experience.

Leading change

Reflections on leadership in context of cultural and…

Leading change

Reflections on leadership in context of cultural and organisational change

Lars Rosengren

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Coaching teams and individuals on digital product leadership, user centred strategy and agility @Ustwo Tokyo, Japan.

Leading change

Reflections on leadership in context of cultural and organisational change