The Problem with the Hero Complex
An organization is truly exceptional when it doesn’t need heroes.
I’ve been tracking Elon Musk’s journey, and like many, I’m impressed by the audacity of his vision, but I’m concerned by what appears to be an unsustainable approach to leadership.
As this article suggests, his actions are more a study in willpower than in leadership. He seems too far out in front of his companies, and their success too dependent on him. He may be a rare breed when it comes to an audacious vision, but he is among a sea of entrepreneurs seemingly afflicted with the hero complex, trying to be the everything for his company.
I’ve found myself trying to play hero before, but I am striving to be conscious in how we're building an organization that is resilient beyond the strengths and weaknesses of its leadership.
How do we build an organization that has many faces (instead of just one)? How do we empower people to be the CEO of their role? How do we build playbooks that codify the brilliance of each team member? How do we ask for help? Bottomline: An organization is truly exceptional when it doesn’t need heroes.