Good leadership, after all, is defined by its absence.

Greg Satell:

By now I think it’s clear that organizations no longer serve to direct work, but to direct passion.  Good leaders therefore, direct passion effectively, bad leaders do not.

Of course, that’s easier said than done, but as I described in an earlier post, Daniel Pink offers a very useful framework of autonomy, mastery and purpose.  Organizations in the digital age that provide those three things, no matter what their size, history or technology, can succeed.  Ones that do not will fail.

And that’s what leaderless organizations teach us about how to manage more conventional enterprises.  While the examples above show that organizations can be self organizing, leaders with industrial age tendencies often obstruct progress.  They pursue efficiency to the exclusion of passion, become overbearing and diminish performance.

Those who devote their efforts to the success of organizations like Morning Star, the Orpheus Orchestra and Anonymous are committed to a purpose, much like those at Apple, Facebook Google and other successful enterprises   In the end, a leader’s primary function is to imbue work with meaning.