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Leadership As A Solution To The Complexity Of Our Times

September 15, 2014 Juan Carlos Cubeiro

To better understand how leadership has evolved through the contributions of experts, we can use the metaphor of the captain of a ship. The captain needs to steer the ship towards the port he wants to go (Visionary Leadership); to adapt what he does based on the type of ship and crew he has (Situational Leadership); to do things better and in a different way (Transformational Leadership); he/she needs the emotions of the crew to be positive (Emotional Leadership), and it is also required that the captain develops their talent (Trainer Leadership).

 

 

Now the question is: how would the ship face a ‘perfect storm’, a set of circumstances that would make the journey particularly complex and difficult?

We live in a ‘VUCA World’ (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity), an acronym derived from military terminology. This term also applies to strategy and leadership.

It is a volatile world because it changes dynamics more frequently than ever. It is uncertain because of its unpredictability. It is complex because many variables are involved at once and ambiguous because cause and effect sequences do not work as they previously did and reality seems to be the result of randomness.

This new VUCA era caused the US Army to review its leadership manual and transform it into the ‘Be-Know-Do’ model, relying more than ever on competence, character and action-taking.

Who makes a difference in a VUCA world?

‘Anti-fragile’ leaders, according to author Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a Lebanese American essayist, scholar and statistician. Taleb believes that both society as a whole, and specifically the economy, are more fragile than ever due to overprotection.

The answer to this problem is anti-fragile leadership, a leadership that is more resilient and robust. A style that is able to grow from challenges and become stronger.

In a VUCA world, according to Duke University’s Professor Rick Voirin, the strategic dilemmas are irresolvable, complex, threatening, enigmatic, confusing and multiple. Therefore, the key skills needed for leadership in this VUCA era include:

  • The ability to learn from the strangest situations;
  • to see things from the point of view of nature;
  • to calm down and integrate opposing positions;
  • to be open and authentic in what is important and,
  • to create and innovate constantly.

The Answer

The answer to a VUCA World is precisely what leadership expert Silvia Damiano offers through her i4 Neuroleader Model:

Integration

A good performing and balanced brain that is able to realise the connections between the different variables of this very ‘Complex’ world.

Inspiration

To overcome the ‘Uncertainty’ generated by such unpredictability.

Imagination

To deal with the dynamics of change, which make the conditions very ‘Volatile’.

Intuition

To resolve the ‘Ambiguity’ of our times, in which the sequences of simple and linear ‘cause and effect’ no longer work.

i4-Neuroleader-Model-Aboutmybrain

The i4 Model incorporates the latest advances from neuroscience and neuroleadership –the practical application of brain science to the leadership domain.

Silvia Damiano provides a distinctive approach to what leadership needs to look like in our times: Leadership as a solution to the complexity.

In contrast to the previous leadership models, which were mainly originated in Anglo-Saxon countries, the i4 Model is the product of someone who was raised in Latin America and has lived and worked in several continents. Silvia's global experience has allowed her to develop a holistic view in regards to leadership.

Furthermore, the i4 Model takes into account the abilities that the female gender is more inclined to adopt when leading. This brings to mind the research by Dr. Louanne Brizendine on how women’s right and left hemispheres of the brain are more interconnected in comparison to men's. This difference results in women being able to communicate more openly, an important quality in leadership.

Additionally, women are able to detect facial expressions 90% of the time, while men are only able to capture the subtle signs of emotions 40% of the time. This gives the female gender the capacity to be more empathetic towards others.

Another significant difference is the hormone testosterone, which is higher in men. This makes men demonstrate a more commanding and goal-focused approach when leading others.

Does a different brain mean different leadership? It is very possible.

 
Excerpt from book "Leadership is Upside Down"
By Silvia Damiano in collaboration with Juan Carlos Cubeiro
Leadership is Upside down  There have always been many expectations and pressures on the leaders at the  top and few on the rest.Silvia Damiano proposes to look at leadership through  new lenses by turning the pyramid upside down and encouraging everybody to  embrace their own leadership. Purchase Book
Juan Carlos Cubeiro

Juan Carlos Cubeiro

Spain's top leadership guru, author, Head of Talent at Manpower & CEO of Right Management. JC is a trusted blogger due to his incredible vision & experience in the leadership space. His daily blog reaches over 70,000 people.

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