In going back through a backlog of emails, I came across one from a colleague that contained a link to a blog posted at the Harvard Business Review by Umair Haque, entitled “The Builder’s Manifesto.”  In it he suggests that the idea of leadership, as we commonly speak of it, is a “relic of the 20th Century” and, therefore, outdated.

Instead, he argues that what we need are “Builders,” rather than leaders.  I think what he is describing are Creators.  He goes on to contrast what a “boss” does to what a “leader” does to that which is the focus of a “builder.”  As you read his “ten principles of Constructivism,” try substituting “Creator” for Builder:

  1. The boss drives group members; the leader coaches them. The Builder learns from them.
  2. The boss depends upon authority; the leader on good will. The Builder depends on good.
  3. The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm. The Builder is inspired — by changing the world.
  4. The boss says “I”; the leader says “we”. The Builder says “all” — people, communities, and society.
  5. The boss assigns the task, the leader sets the pace. The Builder sees the outcome.
  6. The boss says, “Get there on time;” the leader gets there ahead of time. The Builder makes sure “getting there” matters.
  7. The boss fixes the blame for the breakdown; the leader fixes the breakdown. The Builder prevents the breakdown.
  8. The boss knows how; the leader shows how. The Builder shows why.
  9. The boss makes work a drudgery; the leader makes work a game. The Builder organizes love, not work.
  10. The boss says, “Go;” the leader says, “Let’s go.” The Builder says: “come.”

Interesting notion and contrast.  While I may not agree with everything in the blog (which I suggest that you read), he writes as a Challenger to some of my own assumptions about leadership.