A new model of leadership in organisational contexts: Horizontal Leadership.
“Today, more than ever, there is an urgent need to address the criticality of the changes that organisations face, both in terms of the challenges posed by technology and globalisation and, in the current pandemic era, by new forms of work characterised by remote working.”
Thus begins, with these clear words, the research that inspired this article, this reflection of mine. In this research, what is being proposed is, fundamentally, a significant “paradigm shift”: from the view of positive science, characterised by a vision of prediction, management and control, to that of quantum physics, which has demonstrated over time how everything is always changing and relating and nothing can really be controlled forever. And this leap obviously encompasses many aspects of daily life, particularly the organisational one with its much-loved and much-talked about leadership.
If it is true that everything is constantly changing, then it is also true that the model and vision of leadership applied to organisational contexts needs to be “revisited” and made more appropriate for today. It is therefore suggested to go beyond the usual concepts of driving towards corporate objectives (which often cause tension and anxiety because people are not truly involved) and make the people who work there an integral part of the organisation, making them autonomous in the processes of transformation and change.
What clearly emerges from the research data is that the key elements of work motivation fall into two main aspects: the perception of the social utility of one’s work combined with feeling active in improving the organisational processes in which one acts.
Research also showed that, in traditional approaches to work, person and organisation are distinctly divided and seen as independent, non-communicating entities, although social psychology has for years argued the opposite, firmly expressing that the worker and work mutually affect each other. Therefore, the desired change often does not occur because it is necessary for those involved to explore the personal and collective dimensions in order to build a sense of their own identity in relation to the organisational context.
This increasingly requires working with a constructivist and multidisciplinary approach, focusing on the importance of the value and purpose of interactions. The change towards health in organisational contexts is linked to the fact that “personal and organisational identity are connected by an evolutionary synergy, driven by a mutual generation of meaning, both subjective and collective.”
And so a leader with a “horizontal” vision guides others towards this noble goal, the generation of meaning.
In terms of leadership, people are activated by “horizontal” leaders to act as leaders themselves, on a path in which they can autonomously transform their organisational processes and at the same time renew their mental, emotional and action constructs, which are often the cause of recurring work and personal discomforts.
Thus, the leadership model is transformed, which is no longer “only” characterised by guiding people towards corporate goals, but focuses on guiding oneself and the processes in which all other individuals can responsibly act towards a common goal.
An organisation that works on these issues will have satisfied employees, “rich in purpose” within it, who will tend to act responsibly with a view to the common, personal, organisational and social good.
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