The Leader and the Boss

September 29, 2018 Open Leadership No Comments

A boss shouts, even when he listens. A leader listens, even when he talks.

In ‘Open Leadership’ philosophy we look in an open way at the total person of the leader as well as of his co-workers. We are interested in the conscious thinking AND the non-conscious thinking in as far as we can get some insight in both. In this way we now look at the difference between leader and boss.

To put it briefly…

A boss makes things happen that need to happen. A leader enables things to happen.

Both make a circle out of a square. A boss does this by cutting away ‘superfluous’ material. A leader by letting the square grow. A boss thinks that in his position he can only be hard or weak. He is right, being a boss. A leader is not hard nor weak, but firm and soft. That’s called ‘friendly’. A boss is afraid of borders: he keeps far away from them or quickly flies past. A leader heads towards them. When the others reach the borders, he has already  explored them as far as possible, and likely has already gone to a next border. A boss forces. A leader invites, intensely and efficiently… A boss is ‘lonely at the top’. A leader too, but it means something else, as the leader himself knows. And we could keep this up for a whole while…

Do you recognize yourself as boss or leader?

It is often taken for granted that the conscious thinking of our species (Home sapiens) took the place of the non-conscious thinking of our very far ancestors. Not so. The human non-conscious is even much broader than that of our ancestral species. The conscious thinking did not come instead of it, but on top. (The latter is not completely correct… but let’s keep it simple.) This consciousness granted us a special niche on this planet. And what kind! It also gave us a special snag: ego. Better said:

‘mere ego’: something that assumes being home alone, the only boss in its mind.

So: not taking into account non-conscious factors, not in oneself, nor in others. This dissociation is catastrophical for leadership and is apparent in the difference between boss and leader. Leadership without dissociation is what Open Leadership is all about. It is correct to say that the present world needs this to a large extent, in everything what leadership is concerned.

Open Leadership by definition means taking into account the total person.

This is not a return to psychoanalysis. No digging. Nor ‘simple techniques’. It’s an openness that comes from deeper within yourself than from where these techniques could be used. It assumes a confidence in depth that is supported correctly. This is something completely different from a pile of fears and neuroses. It assumes first of all a leader who is willing and who dares to work on himself. ‘Personal growth’ in leadership becomes a lot more than something distant and woolly. More and more it becomes the basis of a future in which  company growth in the end comes to depend on it. Truly deep leadership then radiates from the whole company. We evolve fast towards a business world in which the human factor makes the difference. Technological means enhance this because they ‘empower’ the employee more than ever.

This way companies with a culture of bosses lose the battle in favour of competitors with a culture of Open Leadership.

In the supply of ‘personal growth’ there’s much more chaff than wheat. This is also because it is mostly about subtle things that are quickly passed by without noticing. It is easy to pretend. Thrice beware! The more so since it is also about important matters at the same time. Namely: everything that has to do with depth and openness, thus with ‘soul’. This is the essence it’s all about. Your leadership as well.

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