Invisible leadership is about growing up. So says Eddie Obeng, author of Putting Strategy to Work. But what is invisible leadership? And why do we need it?
Invisible leadership is different to visible leadership. Invisible leadership is recognising you won’t get the credit for much of the work you do.
In contrast, visible leadership is about ego. It’s doing something because it elevates status and gives the leader credit. It’s playing to win at all costs.
When it is not in our power to follow what is true, we ought to follow what is most probable. – René Descartes
Visible leaders push. They are controlling. They command. Visible leaders play politics and always want something tangible to hold on to. They say: “Here look at me!” because they want a pat on the head. They’re childish!
Invisible leadership is different. Invisible leaders operate in the real world. They try to create an environment where people can make decisions.
Invisible leadership is about progress. It’s taking responsibility for making a better future. Invisible leadership is understanding problems not the solutions.
Invisible leaders pull. They empower. They enable. People follow.
Invisible leaders create opportunity to deliver the change business needs. They don’t say anything: they simply get on with it.
Do people choose to follow you?
Or do they fear your authority? Do peers block your every move?
Organisations naturally engender a prejudice in favour of obstruction. – Richard Ollard
If so, it is time to grow up. Stop fighting and let people choose to follow. This may seem unlikely but it is true. When you back off people follow. When you push people resist.
So face up to the true purpose of leadership—empowering others—and let go of your ego. Start practising invisible leadership!
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