Power Vs Principle: Some thoughts on Organization Building for those who have the courage to build a company in the Digital Age
Check out this article on the fault lines of leadership in entrepreneurial companies. I would start with the word “boss” itself. Personally, I detest it as a label since it connotes boss versus employees or subordinates. Those that believe that the role of the boss is to be nice and appreciative of subordinates are missing the real issue: authority based on power versus authority based on principle.
Principle-based leadership seeks to turn the organizational structure upside down. In other words, the role of leadership is to provide support, resources, knowhow etc… to those closest to the customer and those that are being served by the company’s goods, products and services. In this approach, the people who get all of the credit , who stand to get the most acclaim are those who go out of their way to help people understand how the company can truly help them and do so with commitment, passion and excellence.
Power-based leadership seeks to objectify people to follow the leader blindly, to approach customers as objects that we “sell” things to, rather than serve with solutions. In this organization, people are fearful to speak their own minds, the leadership encourages YES men and women, and people form relationships based on their proximity to the top. Harmful coalitions and factions are built as people gravitate to the various power centers that invariably arise as the top leaders fight for primacy among themselves.
Being nice to subordinates is as appropriate a barometer as asking the slave owners to be nice to their slaves. We want to break and destroy the system of slavery itself. We want to break the boss-subordinate relationship and replace it with the servant leader relationship where people follow the truth and only follow those leaders embody and embrace the truth. These leaders strive to be integral and honest, capable of saying when they don’t know something and are focused on learning what works from anyone particularly those that may not have the education, pedigree and so-called preparation but are closest to the customer and therefore bear the truth about what people really need and why people are “buying” in the first place.
It’s no wonder that such organizations, be they public or private, for profit or non-profit, fail, becoming dysfunctional, dying quickly.
As for me, I’d rather become a hermit than to build a company based on the Power Principle. I believe in the LOVE Principle. I choose to work with people who have the capacity to develop relationships based on the unconditionality and power of LOVE.