From a traditional perspective, companies always have a vertical structure, like a pyramid in which the boss is at the top and gives orders to the bottom. The culture of "respecting" the leader often gives way to silence and a lack of opinions, even if one does not agree with the superiors. In these organisations, orders are commandments and the voice of the boss is the ultimate authority.
This old paradigm is today being relegated to the background, at a time when a new one is emerging - the digital or agile one. According to Miguel Pina e Cunha, Professor at Nova SBE, instead of the pyramid, the dominant structure in these organisations becomes horizontal, realigning power within companies and building a large "team of teams", in which each of these poles enjoys high levels of autonomy, working in the same direction, usually articulated through information technology. As Miguel Pina e Cunha underlines that "at the limit, this structure allows teams to be reconfigured according to the projects".
In these non-traditional companies, employees' competence is highly valued, as is their opinion, and when they disagree with an order from their superiors they are expected to make themselves be heard. Here, all opinions are respected and welcomed and leaders accept the leadership of others, especially if they are more qualified for the job or are better prepared to lead. However, while members of the organisation are expected to be transparent, too much transparency can have detrimental effects, especially if the opinions are offensive. This means that it is necessary for each employee to exercise self-leadership, determining what is reasonable and what is not, regulating their behaviours and responsibilities, taking into account the common good and the prosperity of the organisation.
"I have more space within these new companies, but with more space also comes more responsibility," the Professor pointed out, adding that in these organisations everyone becomes responsible, to some extent, for the results and for what happens within the firm.
On this same basis, it is possible to understand that leadership is based on authority and not on power, because power is acquired, authority is conquered. In this way, everyone can have more authority within the company by helping others to lead. Everyone leads and everyone is led. This is the leadership paradigm of the future.
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