The Builder

September 14, 2010 Leave a comment

hammer and nail_web

I’ve been getting into Umair Haque lately, he is among those of us concerned with this emergent paradigm shift, and he comes at it from a business perspective.  I was specially appreciative of one of his manifestos – yes, he has many.

This one he calls “The Builder’s Manifesto,” and he is pointing towards a new model of leadership – the leader as builder.  While not in direct correlation, this shifting leadership model seems to have something in common with Berkana’s proposition of leadership – the shift from “from hero to host.”

I like Umair’s distinctions among boss, leader and builder, I find it provocative and potentially applicable to the social sector.  Specially today, as long time Executive Directors begin to retire en masse and the next generation of leaders are less interested in the preceding model,

Here is Umair list of the 10 Principles of Constructivism:

  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.”

What do you think?  Are you more of a boss, a leader or a builder?  How might we catalyze a shift?

No Comments

  • Curtis says:

    Gibran, I find this very interesting, especially now that I am in the midst of re-reading Barry Oshry’s book “Seeing Systems.” The point he makes about the evolution of organizations (and other systems) is that they often stop at the level of differentiation, without moving to a higher order of “dedifferentiation.” I wonder about the Builder’s role in that step. Perhaps the Builder helps us to get from integration to differentiation. But who helps to spread shared intelligence? The Weaver? Boss, Leader, Builder, Weaver . . .

  • Christian says:

    I like this a lot, Gibran. It’s a great surprise to find out that this type of thinking is going on within the business world. I sure hope these ideas spread.

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