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Mintzberg: time to think of organizations as communities of cooperation

Our obsession with leadership, of any kind, causes us to build organisations that are utterly dependent on individual initiative. We do not allow them to function as communities. So when they fail, we blame the leader, and seek a better one. Like drug addicts, each time we need a bigger hit.

Consider that ubiquitous organisation chart, with its silly boxes of “top”, and “middle”, and bottom managers. How come we never say “bottom managers”? This is no more than a distorted metaphor. It tells us that we are fixated on who has authority over what and whom. The painting may not be the pipe, but to most of us, the chart has become the organisation.

Isn’t it time to think of our organisations as communities of cooperation, and in so doing put leadership in its place: not gone, but alongside other important social processes.

[O]bsession with leadership is the cause of many of the world’s problems. [L]et us get rid of the cult of leadership, striking at least one blow at our increasing obsession with individuality. Not to create a new cult around distributed leadership, but to recognize that the very use of the word leadership tilts thinking toward the individual and away from the community. We don’t only need better leadership, we also need less leadership.



Leadership Ling- Français

Vaclav Havel, leader surréaliste

J’ai lu quelque part une phrase d’Arthur Miller qui dit que c’était « le premier président surréaliste au monde », est-ce une bonne définition ?

« Oui, il est toujours resté un homme. C’était délicieux de le voir dans une négociation importante en tant que président, il a toujours su s’adresser à ses partenaires d’une manière tellement amicale et même avec de l’humour. Cela a fait son succès, non seulement ses belles idées qu’il savait énoncer mais également son attitude amicale, toujours avec ce léger sourire, parfois avec de l’humour. Son autorité ne s’imposait jamais. »

via Radio Prague.