Misleading Management, LEADERSHIP IT’s NOT What You THINK!


By: Ameena Al-Emadi, Fatima Qafoud and Zakiya Al-Boloshi

In this chapter of Mintzberg’s interesting book, “Management It’s NOT What You Think”, he tried to bring our stereotypical image of leaders down to earth, then he started to shape leader’s characteristics within a group and organizations, finally he broaden the concept of leadership to a wider scope defined as community-ship.

“Stereotypical image” of leader:

Stereotypical image is generalization or oversimplification of the characteristics of a group, gender or nation, usually in a negative way. For instance the stereotypical image of women in most men’s mind is that they are addicted to shopping, or a stereotypical image of Arabs in western media that they are living in a desert and riding camels (i.e. are far away of civilization).

Arab_&_Women_ImageWhen we say leader, typically we would imagine a person sitting behind luxurious office, or someone standing in front of large audiences giving strong speech.

Usually the stereotypical image of leaders, lead us to relay on one person to provide all the leadership, which builds expectation that can’t be met, and eventually affect business continuity, at the end of the day leaders are Human Beings, they:

  • Become Sick
  • Make Mistake
  • Die
  • Limited Creativity
  • Limited Capabilities

So, from Mintzberg point of view, there is no LEADERS there is ONLY LEADERSHIP, but what is there differences between leaders and leadership:

  • Leaders are situational, those who are leader in one situation are followers in other situation
  • Leader is a PERSON property, whereas leadership is distributed among the members of a GROUP

So relaying on one person to provide leadership usually robs group power, which in many cases lead to over-dependency on one person, this person usually is the manager who find himself in a position to do micromanagement, eventually this will result poor group performance due to poor use of his time and capabilities, since no one has time to do everything and no one is capable to do everything.

Leaders and Group Power

True Leaders Characteristics:

Thus, true leaders are:

  • Defined by the GROUP they are serving
  • Understand the job being Interdependent with the GROUP
  • Able to succeed in any organization even they are NOT within their domain expertise
  • ACCEPT ideas from OTHERS
  • Call those who had NOT SPOKEN
  • STIMULATE the intelligence and participation of group members
  • Their behavior is NOT DIFFERENT than the behavior of other RESPONSIBLE group member
  • Are SERVANT of their people
  • Speak their vision and direction clearly, but allow OTHERS to SPEAK MORE

Here are great examples of true leaders, from my point of view, who have/had above characteristics defined by Henry Minzberg.

True Leaders

On the other hand, there are other negative examples of leaders who act as superior and above their nation/people and treat them as slaves, where they used their authority and power to to achieve their own interests despite of their nation/people’s interests.

Negative Leaders

True leaders:

  • Believe that Great Businesses Depends on the TALENT of 1000 of People, NOT just 1.
  • Has clear VISION and pays attention to detail
  • Has very high Emotional Intelligence (EI) and analytics capability
  • They have SELF CONFIDENCE and SELF CRITICISM, and are flexible and able to BALANCE between the situation and their capabilities.

 The Heroic Leader

  • Look OUT not IN
  • Catch the attention of investment community—the DEVILS you don’t know
  • Focus on the PRESENT
  • Use the numbers to DEEM it
  •  Keep everyone on their TOES not on their FEET
  •  Is in great demand, they always Challenge THEMSELVES rather than trying to impress OTHERS
  •  Realistically ASSES their capabilities

 Does only leaders lead to a successful organizations:

poletenLeaders are only one factor in the journey of organization success, for instance in the peloton game,  the main pack of riders in a road cycling race, where the riders at the front sheltering the rest of the pack from the wind. Taking turns at the head of the peloton allows the whole field to travel faster and for longer distances than any one rider could manage alone. No rider, no matter how strong, can win without cooperating with others.

From Leadership to CommunityShip

Community ship means that the role of leaders fluid shared by various people in a group according to their capabilities as the condition change, every person within the group is responsible and feels that his/her action will eventually affect the community they live in.

Community ship means:

  • To stop flowers –> stop acting as Top, Middle, and Bottom Levels managers
  • It’s collective social process
  • It means less individualism/Distributed Leadership

Learning from Ants


  • Our image to a Leader as one person should be changed in order to support the industry creativity
  • LEADERs Cannot be created in class room or MBA programs
  • Leadership is GROUP property not Person property
  • Leadership is the ability to mobilize the forces of greed, territoriality, guilt, fear, love, hate, and spirituality
  • Innovation increases with organizations supporting leadership vision not “Leader” vision, clear example is “Pixar” and “ APPLE”



About aemadi

Qatari Information Technology professional. Who witnessed technology revolution back in 1995. Master in Business Administration, from Qatar University. Perfectionist and passionate about my country. Hopefully will leave thumbnail to this live.
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