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Leadership Requires a Change In Thinking

Updated: Feb 24, 2023

Author: Virginie Glaenzer, Fractional Marketing Officer

“Can you give us a new definition?” they asked.

“The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between

how nature works and the way people think” – Gregory Bateson.

A New Definition of Leadership

Bridging Leadership*” is a style of leadership that’s required right now.

It is a new mentality. It rests on some essential skills: listening, empathy, and self-awareness—the ability to connect with different audiences and stakeholders. The bridging leader will be secure in themselves, with low ego needs. A systems thinker with the ability to design, convene and manage a process of partnership.

At the core, the bridging leader can create a safe place for creativity and progress to happen. By creating and sustaining effective working relationships among key partners and stakeholders, resolution and the removal of unnecessary conflict are attained.

By “bridging” the different perspectives and opinions to be found across various stakeholders, a joint plan can be developed and shared to find solutions for business, social and economic problems.

Bridging Leadership is an approach to leadership for addressing complex challenges.

These challenges are:

  • Typically beyond the capacity of one sector alone to resolve.

  • In need of the collaborative action of all sectors – government, civil society, business, and donors.

  • In need of sustainable solutions that are owned by diverse and multiple stakeholders.

The Characteristics of Bridging Leaders:

  1. From commander and controller - to facilitator and convener.

  2. From the sole owner of the problem and solution - to prime mover and co-owner of the problem and solution.

  3. From having all the answers to the creator of the conditions where solutions emerge

  4. From a single intelligence to a focuser of collective attention. The distiller of collective intelligence.

  5. From the head of one organization to the ligament between organizations and institutions across a system

  6. From the holder of the power to the distributor of energy, letting go to enable new things to emerge.

  7. From expert to non-expert - mobilizing the expertise of others.

A New Definition of Manufacturing

The ‘making’ (the creation) - a thoughtful, responsible, sustainable, ethical design, and making of the substance, product, service, or solution.

The plant, infrastructure, supply chain, resources, systems, skills, rules, procedures, techniques, and capabilities to make or do what the organization makes/does.

A New Definition of Management

We always have to remember that a business is made up of humans. Even if it is increasing applying new technological tools, it’s the people that benefit and are involved that are important.

The mature mindset, mentality, and attitude of leaders and the workforce to manage in an ethical, moral, and sustainable way. The organizational design, the management, payroll, strategy, and leadership.

The decisions that ensure marketing makes the most efficient and effective interface with manufacturing – and vice versa. Managing the partners – e.g., distribution of what gets made – the substance, and so on.

Business is Human After All.

The coronavirus crisis has simultaneously revealed the great potential for digital technology to facilitate business interactions over a distance and exposed the limitations of that technology in providing the essential elements of human contact.

We have discovered in a physical world in which our expressions of emotion must always remain masked, that we have:

  1. A hunger for face-to-face interaction.

  2. A need for full human connection. That nature of contact that cannot be achieved on screen.

  3. A feeling of skin hunger. This is the emotion that arises out of deprivation from human touch.

The rediscovery of the vital importance of humanity to business can inspire us to develop techniques of robust emotional experience to match the dominant technologies of digital information now at our fingertips.

A business has the opportunity to synthesize new kinds of platforms that are at once digitally powered and infused with humanity. This new direction for business will be fully embodied, informed by the insight that, after all, human beings are not computers with bodies attached. We’re biological, hormonal, muscle, and sinew fully integrated with a neural net.

We are part of a greater whole

What’s more, we have learned through the struggles provoked by COVID-19 that we are more than just individuals. We live and die as communities, flattening the curve of infection, and maintaining public health only when we work together.

In this forced experiment, everyone’s contribution counts, regardless of income or social status.

In the past, attention in business has focused on executive leadership, because that’s where the money is. We see more clearly now that the entire community of a business contributes vitally to its place in society - to achieving its vision and that all involve the new definition of marketing, from the C-suite to the clerks and employees on the front line.

“We all have dreams. But to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.” – Jesse Owens

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