O'Reilly logo

Power Up: Transforming Organizations Through Shared Leadership by Allan R. Cohen, David L. Bradford

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

images

HEROIC LEADERSHIP: WHERE THE BUCK STOPS TOO OFTEN

Years of experience have left most people with a deeply rooted belief that the main difference between managers and those who report to them is that the manager is responsible for the group’s success. The buck may be passed around, but it always stops with the boss. When managers are talented or lucky. they have subordinates who pitch in, invest in the job, pull together, and shoulder more than their share. But in the end, managers remain fully responsible for the whole, while subordinates are responsible only for their own areas. That’s the mind-set of heroic leadership. And despite all the books, articles. and seminars advocating participative management, this mind-set remains deeply anchored in the psyche of managers and subordinates alike.

Heroic leadership used to work. Its past success no doubt explains its persistence. It was useful when conditions were more stable, when employees were less educated, and when they performed routine tasks that required little interdependence. In those conditions, the leader was the expert who could provide needed coordination and control. Subordinates needed little initiative; to succeed, they stayed in their assigned roles and ignored other areas. Although work conditions of this sort have become increasingly rare, old habits die hard.

You can probably find examples of heroic leadership where ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required