Leadership roles are too often held by individuals strongly inclined towards authority, status, autonomy, and structure.
Despite the ongoing digital revolution and the rise of agile management promoting a different breed of leaders, companies continue to appoint those primarily concerned with their advancement.
The intent for change exists, but with the persistent pressure to conform to established norms, it takes considerable time for recruiting agencies, HR managers, and current leaders to transition from imagination to action.
Do we genuinely desire change, though? Or do we find comfort in perpetuating existing models that are widely accepted?
The existing biases in leadership have become so deeply ingrained that individuals who relish authority, enjoy leading others, cherish status and privileges, favor structured stability, and love independence are frequently identified as leaders or potential leaders.
This promotes a culture that supports hierarchy.
Such a culture categorizes individuals and only accepts leaders demonstrating the aforementioned traits.
This approach does not encourage diversity in leadership but solidifies past role models. These personalities then become the accepted "model majority" for leadership.
Such personalities dominate today's top management to the extent that it borders on homogeneity. We only welcome people who think alike. This mindset has turned into a lucrative business, with numerous headhunters having such personalities in their databases.
These leaders often prioritize status and privilege over addressing their people's issues. Special privileges for managers are the norm rather than exceptions.
The “Model Minority” consists of all other leaders prioritizing flexibility/change, collaboration/co-creation, empowerment, and humility over career progression, status, or independence.
These individuals may be successful leaders delivering results, but since they don't aspire for higher positions, they are frequently overlooked or ignored. Their subordinates who fit the bias are encouraged instead.
My observation: Diversity is still vastly underrepresented or entirely absent in leadership circles.
The more leaders we bring into organizations that align with the "Model Minority," the more such personalities will be willing to step up to higher leadership roles. As they succeed further, current models will be challenged, leading to shifts in power dynamics and changes in leadership biases.
Thus, digital transformation, agile management, diversity, and inclusion would have a genuine chance at leadership levels.
Check Your Privilege
My most significant privilege was having opportunities that allowed me to express my identity as an independent personality. I could always select situations, companies, organizations projects, and people that suited me. Even at a young age, I ensured my identity had room for expression. Seek environments that value evolution and growing diversity, and leave those that limit you. This has been my life's mantra.
Eventually, it became a privilege I earned through fighting for the right to remain an independent, unique personality.
As such, I was sought after for tasks, individual situations, and roles where I could thrive. These were instances where there was alignment between my intrinsic values and the challenges presented, creating a psychologically safe situation.
For several years, I have advocated for prioritizing humans discovering their potential and finding situations, companies' tasks, and roles where this potential can flourish.
I firmly believe evolution is only possible through diversity and inclusion.