Why is there so Little Open Leadership?

January 31, 2023 Open Leadership No Comments

The advantages are huge, yet too little attention goes to it in practice. Causes go from little theoretical thinking about it to a lack of Openness in the whole of society.

Please read: Open Leadership is Bigger than You

A leader is ‘only a person.’

One cannot expect him to be an Ubermensch. A leader grows from the soil of society.

Yet, in principle, he can be like a lotus flower, growing from the depth of a pond toward flourishing at the surface. A leader is well placed to have many experiences that can help in this. He can try out many things and ask for feedback from ‘his people.’


Yet to grow, one needs to have the capacity for mental growth ― inborn to all yet tweaked in many. This is really challenging. An upcoming leader might use the guidance of an established leader. Of course, he may also get help from an executive coach.

Yet – and still – if Openness is seldom a given, there is not so much support to be found. In no small number of cases, the examples are dire and truly Open coaches are not readily available. Is this a catch-22?

Growing, growing, grown

Small steps can lead to significant results. Yet, small steps don’t necessarily lead to immediate results, especially in a complex environment such as the present one ubiquitously. Many things can hinder or even obstruct the growth. Meanwhile, the bottom line keeps blinking.

This leads to an additional challenge on top of the prior one. In my view, the solution lies in even more insight into the Openness phenomenon ― to start with: a correct assessment of its complexity. From a to z, this may seem easier than it actually is. Thus, people may try things out, get disappointed, and abandon.

This is not just a catch-22 but a (negatively) active catch-22, especially in the light of the following.


An Open person – also a leader – may expect unexpected obstruction from the social environment. There is an entanglement of obstruction possible from people who feel this internally (up to Eigenangst) as well as in their respective personal settings. The dynamic is one of a self-perpetuating pattern.

The nail that sticks out gets the blow.

Thus, it is mandatory to learn how to deal with the blow

― one way or another. Again, insight is the first key to unlocking possibilities.

The second key is not being too attached. Even if seeing the advantages of Openness, each situation needs to be evaluated almost every moment. Fortunately, Openness is not so much about a repeated effort than a mindset. Growing it internally makes it present continuously.

The third key is not being afraid to be Open. Combined with the first and second keys, this brings an attitude of always being possible while never compulsory.

This way, an Open Leader gets ‘born again.’

Surely, this might sound easy to some.

Surely, it is not. Open Leadership is as challenging as it is necessary.

As you probably know, much support is available here: https://www.openleiderschap.com (English/Dutch).

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