The entire leadership industry is based on the assumption of imitation. It is assumed that if we learn what a great leader does we can imitate the best practices of that leader. If a scientist identifies what is common across a sample of effective leaders we can identify and imitate how effective leaders behave. Many courses and workshops follow this assumption. The assumption is wrong.
Observing the best practices of others serves a positive function. It gives us aspiration. Yet assuming that we can succeed by imitating the best practices of others is misleading. Implementation of a new practice distorts the existing equilibrium and leads to resistance. Successful implementation requires openness to resistance, assessment and creative experimentation. We implement by learning not by directive.
The capacity to learn and create emanates from genuine commitment to purpose. When we really care we are willing to fail our ways to success. In this process we see and do things no one else does.
This kind of leadership is nearly incomprehensible to the person in the normal state. In the normal state people seek safety and imitation is the safest strategy. Leadership is not about being safe. Leadership is about having a higher purpose, living in the crucible of anxiety and moving into uncertainty with both intention and openness. Determination and openness give rise to discovery and further clarification of the emerging vision. Purpose gives rise to learning and transforms organizations.