Dependency as an Asset
An independent life is out of the question for anyone who aspires to lead.
Success – in leadership – always depends on others. A central issue of leadership is how you deal with dependency.
Arrogance – Humility – Dependency:
Arrogance minimizes, ignores, and rejects dependency. Arrogant leaders:
- Accentuate status.
- Stand aloof from the ‘little people’.
- Expect to be served.
- Succeed at the expense of others.
- Overestimate their own value and underestimate the value of others.
(I choose the word ‘arrogance’ because ‘pride’ has both a positive and negative aspect.)
Everyone who says, “Treat people like equals,” acknowledges the existence of inequalities.
Humility isn’t blind or ignorant. Self-awareness requires leaders to acknowledge admiration, courtesy, or deference.
Leaders choose to respond to status with arrogance or humility.
Anyone who doesn’t acknowledge their status is unable to choose their response to it.
Humble leaders acknowledge their status and know how to use it in service to others.
The elusiveness of humility is clouded by muddled views of independence.
Fools say they don’t need others.
We are born dependent and we will die the same way. In the middle, we strive for the illusion of independence.
At the heart of humility is acknowledgement of dependence.
Dependency answers arrogance. Standing aloof is not an option. The higher you rise in organizational life, the more you depend on others.
The illusion of status is the idea that you don’t need others. But everything you have or know began with others. Even status is given by others.
- Ask for help. Help seeking is humbling.
- Acknowledge the expertise of others. The people around the table are smarter than you in their area of expertise.
- Treat others as equals by elevating their status, not flaunting or demanding yours.
Humble leaders use their rank to elevate the status of others.
What are some of the dependencies of leadership?
This really spoke to me this morning, Dan. Beyond the organizational trials, your words touched me regarding some personal issues I am going through right now. It was just the inspiration I needed. Thank you!
The dependency issue hit me over the head this week. I started the week thinking I had so much I had to do and there was no one to help me. Once I finally asked for help the response and level of responsibility taken on by others has been immense. Next up for me will remembering to be appropriately grateful.
So great! Really appreciate the message — true leadership involves dependency on others; makes sense i.e. if operating independently, who are your leading? “Humble leaders acknowledge their status and know how to use it in service to others”, Servant Leadership explained. “Self-awareness requires leaders to acknowledge admiration, courtesy, or deference” — great thought/explanation.
Dependency is enabling;
Independence is entitling;
Interdependency is empowering …
Authentic Humility merely serves interdependecy,
It does not entitle or enable;
Leadership bridges, it does not separate.
Asking for help can create a position cultureof togetherness.
Asking for help can create a positive culture of oneness in the organisation.
I have seen leaders not maximize the expertise on their team and have wondered if it was arrogance, insecurity, or need for control. Perhaps they are all related. I think a leader can depend on being the person with the answers instead of guiding their staff to discover them. My kids attended a Montessori school and it reminds me of how teachers function in this philosophy. Teachers serve as learning guides and not the source of knowledge. The teaching role is to help the student to discover his/her own learning process and become as independent as possible. This is how I see leadership functioning in humility.
Ditto, word for word … very well said, Kathy; thank you.
The international IB (International Baccalaureate program) is very similar … predicated on a “theory of knowledge,” that all knowledge (and thus all experience) is interconnected, and thus aims at guiding each developing young adult to discover these interconnections in a cross disciplinary methodology.
Sounds like (persuasive/humane ilo manipulative/coercive) leadership to me.
Great post! All true!