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Acts of leadership, not 'leaders'

by The Architect January 28, 2015

Up from the Hub archives. Originally published 2012

So, in this clip of Roger Bannister breaking the 4 minute mile, who, exactly, is the leader?

  • Chris Brasher is the leader.
  • Then Chris Chataway is the leader.
  • Then Roger Bannister is the leader.

All within the space of four minutes. Well, 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds.

It wasn't a race, by the way. Brasher and Chataway were pacesetting for Bannister; leading him, pulling him on to succeed, supporting him. Like great leaders do.

Acts of leadership like this one are in fact collaborations in which people take turns to lead. The myth of 'the leader' stops us recognizing this obvious truth. Stop viewing leadership through the lens of 'the leader'. Start thinking 'acts of leadership' rather than 'leader' and you are better equipped to help build an organization, team or unit full of acts of collaborative leadership.