The times of authoritarian bosses are over. What determines the success of the leader today?

Today, communication is important, the ability to discover potential in the team members, the partner flow of ideas between colleagues. A contemporary leader inspires and motivates others through his own commitment and passion.

Kończą się czasy autorytarnych szefów. Od czego dzisiaj zależy sukces lidera - Business Insider Norbert Biedrzycki Sep-25

My article in BUSINESS INSIDER published 25th of September 2018.


As noted in my other articles, over the past few decades, leaders have been seen as powerful individuals who head groups of people. Even as late as the mid-20thcentury, companies employed the authoritarian model of management which required employees to meekly and compliantly follow their leaders. Authoritarian leadership was gradually replaced with partner relationships between individual leaders and their subordinates. In transformational models, which are common today, leaders’ success depends on their ability to delegate responsibilities and propose exciting visions that appeal to their subordinates. What counts is communication and the ability to see potential in team members and maintain an egalitarian flow of ideas among co-workers. Today’s leaders inspire and motivate others by displaying commitment and passion through their actions.


Diversity kills the individual

For decades, organizations have adhered to the hierarchical management model that put leaders at the top of their hierarchy, in command of several to over a dozen direct reports. Such a small circle of executives would make all the key decisions, throw ideas around, let them clash, and make choices that would set the course for the entire organization. The intellectual capacities of the members of such inner circles would determine the performance of hundreds of employees, making the difference between the success and failure of their day-to-day activities. Many aspects of this model persist to this day, even in organizations whose leaders are no longer authoritarian. The companies that have successfully purged themselves of authoritarian leanings may still need to grapple with leader competencies, and specifically their mismatch with the world of rapid technological and other changes.


Volatileand rapid

In my view, the two words that best describe the basic characteristics of modern markets are “volatile”and “rapid”. They apply to trends, consumer behavior, means of production, business models and consumption patterns. Such an environment puts into question the competencies of leaders and their immediate associates. Bluntly speaking, even at the moment they are made, decisions tend to be “dated”. Therefore, in the long run, hierarchies and traditional competency-based roles cannot live up to the challenges that arise in the world of “parallel” models and behaviors. Hence, the pressing need to take key decisions beyond the narrow circle of leaders. Considering the incredible acceleration of change, the most impactful and beneficial decisions may well be those made on the “fringes” of organizations, in areas most conspicuously influenced by customers. As mentioned repeatedly, customers are the key players in today’s economy. They are favored by the latest technologies, which have made them the champions of change. In addition, through their preferences, behaviors and purchase decisions, customers are unknowingly included in organization’s decision networks. Supported by and increasingly replaced with self-learning machines, leaders, organizational structures and even generally, people in organizations, increasingly lose their grip on decision-making. Even today, machines order raw materials to supply production lines (based on production schedules), forecast sales, requisition products for storage (using sales estimates based on customer behaviors) and design services (to meet customer preferences).


Read more in the full article.


Link to the full article (in Polish)


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Leave a Reply


  1. tom lee

    The stage of action in organizations is set up by the organizational purpose, vision, mission, strategy and other high-level shaping activities that lead to scenarios of activity, from driving into new markets to struggling with organizational change.

    If you can shape the direction of the organization, you have tremendous power to affect much of what it does and consequently the futures (and power) of others in the firm.

  2. Karel Doomm2

    With the rise in freelancers and remote work, companies will be moving more towards the implementation of policies and procedures to work with agile talent. Organizations will need to train their managers to effectively onboard and utilize the agile talent to complete projects more efficiently while maintaining a strong organizational culture.

  3. Zidan78

    Communication is key, as well as listening to and respecting employee questions and concerns. Some of these issues may come from legitimate insights about the proposed innovations, whereas others can grow out of a natural resistance to change. Once you choose a strategy or system to adopt, there will also inevitably be some fine tuning.

  4. Zidan78

    All organizations undergo ongoing change, and studying the ways organizations change provides perspective on the process. Organizational change is a field of management theory that focuses on the stages that companies go through as they evolve. When you know the general characteristics of the different stages of organizational change, you can adopt strategies appropriate to your own specific circumstances at the stage you’re currently navigating.

    • Norbert Biedrzycki  

      The point I was making is that change management is useless when run by a people who a) don’t know much about technology and b) try to jam us up with red tape because it makes them look useful in their own minds. I don’t object to change management, I object to broken change management limitations.

    • TomCat

      I agree somewhat but the common denominators here are consumer convenience, accessibility and the concept of dis-intermediation which were all mobilized through and facilitated by new technology and in most cases new digital platforms

  5. SimonMcD

    Start with a cross-functional team with a business connection, plan and build in one- or two-week cycles, show everyone your real, running, tested software after each cycle and after each cycle sit down and devise real ways to improve. It’s important to recognize you likely can’t do this right now, and even if you could it wouldn’t happen over night. It’s more important to understand what you’re giving up by keeping teams that aren’t cross functional. Based on the benefit, you may decide that having a functional and working backlog should come before (rather than at the same time as) cross functional teams.

  6. ZoraBora

    Communication: Good leaders communicate effectively. They communicate clearly and timely to the team any information critical to the business and respect team members opinion. It gives them a sense of belonging which enhances productivity.

  7. Adam Spikey

    The difference is that all of that is in the past, and most people don’t understand that it happened. But they see “robots” and “AI” impacting jobs today, or read that they will, and think it is something new and different. The only difference is that different types of jobs are being impacted.

  8. TomHarber

    A good article with good question marks! -:)
    If simplify reflection and transfer the availability of info about us to the present times.
    Can we count on freedom in action or rather on subordination to someone or something?
    But more important seems to be whether transparency of information may affect the election of those who will manage them.

    And why they should be good or bad?

    • Zoeba Jones

      I agree that being customer centric is the key to any successful business, but I totally disagree with the reasons that killed those businesses. Amazon isn’t killing other retailers only because of customer service. There are plenty of retailers that do outstanding customer service that struggle without an Omnichannel strategy. Amazon is a powerful marketplace. Similar arguement could be used for Airbnb and Uber. It’s a simplistic way of saying something obvious.

  9. TonyHor

    It seems we need to reconsider how employer(?) are going to upgrade the skills (to advanced tech skills?) by half to year constant training of already educated employers… So rather first there will be the great depression of employment (skills!)

    • Jack666

      Leaders are committed to and personally involved in improving organization performance. They should create and maintain the internal environment in which people can become fully involved in achieving the organization’s objectives.

  10. TonyHor

    Extremely predictable: AI light vs. AI dark, original vs. counterfeit.
    Key point, whether expert/judge/evaluating/decisive will be true or fake? -:)

    Thank you for sharing!