When leadership is present it can not and may not measured because it precedes quantitative factors.
In a hierarchical context this means that leadership, being higher than quantitative factors, serves as a foundation for these, and of course the higher can never be measured by the lower.
If we look at environments that are set up purely for objectives defined by quantitative measures, leadership may not emerge at all; to understand this we must go back in time way before certain conditions gave birth to modern business, to the middle ages, before the time of Philip IV of France.
When looking at hierarchies before the 1300’s we must be very careful not to project current views (characterized by progressivism, evolutionalism, egalitarianism, pervasive materialism, etc.) into those times.
The principles that today are abstractly described as leadership were dominance and power both being supra individual, most adequately represented by the highest echelons of the organic hierarchy:
- king (active aspect of dominance; analogy to Ghibellins)
- clergy (passive aspect of dominance; analogy to Guelfs)
- nobility (power)
Initially there was a caste above the castes that incorporated both the active and passive qualities and which provided a vantage point of integration for both after they emerged as separate but complementary representatives of the principle of dominance (always intellectual, from another aspect spiritual).
The top two strata dominated power, power dominated matter (as it appeared in the form of goods and services). In addition to military affairs (not in the modern sense of the word of course) nobility also fulfilled juristic functions and in this sense controlled commerce and economics, as well.
Why this long overview of history? Because in today’s business environment we can’t find appropriate examples that may highlight the principles of leadership; having a look at the analogies of dominance and power in the original sense, it’s obvious that economics is positioned below power; from the point of view of profit driven initiatives, neither power nor dominance may be grasped. There are plenty of theories (trait theory is a good example) to provide a substitute, trying to fill the void left in the ABSENCE of actual leadership.
And now, in context of the above, the identity question.
The identity problem breaks down into two problems:
- awareness problem: the identity is not known
- limitation problem: identity is constrained.
The two problems are related. Here we’ll look only at the awareness problem.
With the dissolution of organic hierarchies awareness declined and the views on identity shifted towards individualism, while the principle of differentiation between individuals disappeared: the undifferentiated mass gained significance and today it usurps the positions of dominance and power with a one-sided view on both, confuses manipulation with influence, is vehemently democratic and since it can’t differentiate between organic and artificial hierarchies it demonizes both.
In such an environment the principle of differentiation is so weak that it no longer provides a foundation for the individual to experience his own identity; to actively, consciously and distinctly experience the self. In lack of an appropriate foundation it happily adjusts to directives whose purpose is to liquidate differentiation.
The sense of purpose, the sense of appropriate style, the awareness of potentials, the power to lift them to the level of actuality, in short: the awareness of the self and the resulting collected, focused energy has considerably deteriorated.
Next up: the interesting problem of identity as limitation as context for the leadership question.
This question comes up in my conversations more and more often. In this post I will focus only on one single aspect of this question because I think this aspect is somehow missed by most people:
Business does not provide context for proper qualitative differentialtion between men and women; this means that the gender “question” is irrelevant.
If anything, it eliminates qualitative differentiation! In other words: decision making in context of profit does not call for masculine OR feminine qualities! No man or woman is qualified since there is no qualitative factor present. Ironically, the drive for business leadership roles only strengthens the tendency of undifferentiation, all under the aegis of diversity.
The answers to what constitutes virile/masculine or feminine qualities are to be found entirely outside the business domain.
Acknowledging this, and introducing principles (masculine, feminine and others) into the organization thus enabling the emergence of organic hierarchies, where economics are subordinated to its appropriate level, calls for leadership in a higher (than business) sense.
Image source: http://surfeurope.mpora.com/news/top-women-surfers-heading-for-mozambique.html
In most definitions of organic and mechanical/mechanistic organizations the role of hierarchies takes a center place.
Conventional definitions break down into two major categories:
- the context is business
- the context is historical
Conventional business definitions almost always miss the point entirely; they are simply unable to grasp the concept of organic organization. This should not come as a surprise, since the concept goes way beyond the boundaries of business.
Conventional historical definitions are very interesting, but not relevant here.
The point I briefly want to make is this:
Organic organization is in polar opposition to how business thinks about it.
It is based on hierarchies that are not based on functions and jobs, but the other way around: specialization (be it functions, jobs or other) is the result of (organic) hierarchical position.
Organic hierarchical positions are based on the function of vertical integration, as opposed to business where the foundation is specialization and integration is highly mechanical and unsuccessful.
To turn business organizations into organic organizations is a logical impossibility.
It is however possible for business to enable the emergence of some organicity within an otherwise mechanical system.
When done successfully it MAY result in
- increased organizational creativity and innovation
- strengthened organizational identity
- the emergence of essential leadership
Innovation (to a larger degree), organizational identity and essential leadership (to a lesser degree) occupy top spots on the executive agenda; if we thoroughly think through the implications of these three factors, we see that triggering some organicity in business has tremendous importance.