Publications -Paper: Wise leaders don’t cause broken chains.

We are involved in several Business Transformation initiatives. When we look at the projects/programs that are complex and critical, then inspirational, servant and authentic leadership seems to be crucial.


Why ego is not helping

Looking back at last years, as a Business Transformation Practitioner, I was at some occasions exposed to very ego driven, aggressive and at the same time completely uninspiring leadership practices.

Encountering so called “leaders”, full of self-esteem and overly proud of their own performance.

I’ve been working for more than 25 years, so I know that at a certain moment their reputation will be that severely damaged in the market, that it becomes a self-regulating problem. Otherwise put, their future economical usability will decrease rapidly.

Unfortunately that can take some time. And as the Americans say, that may cause a lot of collateral damage!

As a result employees or teams enter a state of severe demotivation and/or complete mental disconnection. As the saying goes: “People don’t leave companies, they leave bosses.”

So, I would like to share a few tips how to go about with this type of behavior.


Look for integrity

Search for integrity in the leaders you serve. Wise leaders have in my view four personality traits in common. They display:

  • Trust
  • Respect
  • Authenticity
  • Courage

This allows them to operate in an honest and open way.

Leaders who can’t be developed up to this level of leadership mastery, have nowhere else to turn to then to politics and power play.


Dive deeper on courage

Wise leaders know that fear, from time to time, is a very natural state.

Soldiers under heavy fire will only follow their officer if they know that that officer also has fears for certain situations and actions.

And, that he or she has found, overtime, ways to deal with it. These soldiers count on the officer to help them with facing their own fears and living up to challenge at hand.

Or as Mark Twain put it so nicely: “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear!”


Listen to the dissident voices

History shows us that autocratic and dictatorial leaders always come to an, usually unpleasant, end.

Their downfall almost always has been triggered by some dissident voices. People who had the courage to speak up and fight back.

Or as I always say to the people I work with in organizations: “In the dissident voices often lies the, at that stage, required wisdom and courage!”


Marc Van Obberghen

Partner - Inscriptio


Download the paper   Need help?   Back to overview