Leadership, a non-hierarchical approach


Leadership, a non-hierarchical approach

It is well known that organisations without strong leadership at the helm often tend to aimlessly drift. In today’s challenging business environment, this drifting will inevitably result in the organisation’s failure. However, does effective leadership mean you are on a hierarchical pedestal, above all others in your team? The need for personal recognition can be a powerful, yet blinding force.

We all aspire to be effective leaders so that we can guide our team to share and contribute to our vision, but some leaders tend to overlook the importance and value to a positive organisation level culture that humility in leadership brings. Some people in leadership roles that I have experienced need the “Big Boss” motif established because their egos require it.  

In fact, I once had a boss who actually arranged his office desk facing outward like a school principle. The placing of a desk went along with a mentality that “I am the boss and you are not”.  All who entered his office immediately felt intimidated and uncertain, like they were in trouble, regardless of the meeting content. This situation is bad for employee motivation and ensures a bad business culture. 


What it means to be a humble leader 

Being a humble leader doesn’t mean you need to be modest about your achievements.  What being a humble leader means is that out of respect to your team, you drop the “Big Boss” mentality in order to place yourself in a trusted position in relation to your peers. You need to be ready to accept their input on a more even playing field. This is most important for team moral.   

A strictly hierarchical culture often leads to employees becoming insecure and craving their boss’s approval.  This situation tends to limit employee confidence levels, leading to a restraint on innovation as the employee starts to concentrate more on pleasing the boss, thinking that if they tell the boss what they want to hear they will be advancing their own career, rather than joining and contributing to the forward vision (your forward vision) of the organisation.   

There is no doubt that an effective leader’s role is critical to the success of the organisation.  Working with your team, rather than placing yourself above your people, will in no way diminish your capabilities to lead. It will in fact expand them. Collaboration is the key to innovation, but this is only possible if all within the organisation feel confident enough to approach their superiors in a totally unrestricted way. 


Notable takeaways 

If leaders can do away with the “Big Boss” title and desired accolades designed to feed their egos, the organisation they represent will benefit greatly. This will enable all within the organisation to feel empowered to contribute to the collective vision, feel comfortable to approach the leadership team with any idea for improvement, and voice concerns/address organisational issues openly and effectively.   

If leaders lead by example, instead of fear, and mentor their staff in a non-hierarchical, humble manner, then this mentality will filter through and cultivate the next wave of effective leadership values into the organisation and result in fostering a team culture for greater success into the future.


Kent Wighton is the leader and founding CEO of JumpStartMe – an investment validation and SME business focus program dedicated to both enabling the growth of businesses from mere ideas into thriving enterprises and fortifying SME focus and competitiveness.