From the Caesars of the Roman Empire to Napoleon to Hitler, our leaders usually possessed and exhumed charismatic energy from their speech and actions. They spoke, and we listened. They bellowed “Follow me!”, and we followed. Crowds were drawn, and in turn, reacted to whatever was uttered from the worshiped mouths of the leader and his select few.
I call this the T-Rex leader. The T-Rex thrived on one-way communication. He ruled from on high, on the likes of Mount Olympus, and his input thundered downward to be engraved upon the minds of his minions at his feet. Thought was not required. Like lemmings strutting down meaningless paths, simple actions were valued, questions discouraged. The T-Rex knew it all and had it all, so why question? Surely, T-Rex would look out for the common good.
This T-Rex is now extinct.
As the twenty-first century welcomed in a new wave of information technology, the minions became empowered. Knowledge is no longer a delicacy of the few, tucked away in T-Rex’s castles and chests. Knowledge and information is now a shared commodity, openly traded, sometimes for value, sometimes for free. Knowledge has become power, the power to question, the power to observe. Today, the T-Rex may bellow and beckon a following. The empowered minions inquisitively observe the T-Rex and think, asking “Is this T-Rex worthy of a following?”
The T-Rex must upgrade itself, to T-Rex Squared.
One-way commands, downward in nature, are now void of value. Pyramid organizational structures are crumbling left and right. They are ineffective and wasteful at best. The new motto is “From Vertical to Horizontal”. T-Rex Squared understands the value of two-way communication. He is a leader that dwells amongst his peers, breathing the same oxygen at that sea level. He lives and breathes the organization, and his mind is saturated (in a good way) with the overflowing creative juices of his empowered minions, now companions.
T-Rex Squared builds a web of communication. Input comes and goes in all directions. T-Rex Squared knows his limits, both intellectually and physically. He acquires the expertise of former minions and encourages them to freely create. Professional fields, segregated and holed up in the past, merge to create synergistic new fields and values. Information is shared, and knowledge is maximized through cross-references and communication.
Perhaps most strikingly, T-Rex Squared need not bellow. He just acts. Others examine him critically, and if he is deemed worthy of a following, they follow. T-Rex Squared is the ultimate catalyst, drawing broad boundaries and fueling thought and creation with moral and financial support.
As we head into election season, we must sense this societal change. Needs have changed. Survival criteria have changed. The definition of value has changed. From this day forth, our leaders must change as well.