We need Alpha Leaders, not Alpha Males to run companies. History has shown that Alpha Leaders tend to think big, take bold and decisive actions, which in turn engenders change in the way we work, live and interact with others. Alpha Males lead by using the command and control approach, which is becoming less important in an increasingly service oriented world that depends on innovation and team participation to survive. Alpha Leaders and Alpha Males are not specific to any one gender. Both share many similar character traits. However, there are some characteristics that are unique to an Alpha Leader or Alpha Male. Following is a partial list.
What a difference? One is focused on the betterment of the team, the other, self-preservation. It is fair to conclude that people who are confident, secure and experts in their professional field may not want to be led by an Alpha Male. Alpha Leaders, on the other hand, are naturals at bringing the best in any team, from innovators to thinkers to workers by encouraging a participatory style of team dynamics.
Peter Drucker, a well-known professor and management consultant said it well, ""The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say 'I'. And that's not because they have trained themselves not to say 'I'. They don't think 'I'. They think 'we'; they think 'team'. They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don't sidestep it, but 'we' gets the credit.... This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done."
For a team to function effectively there has to be implicit trust between all members. The leader must be confident that the team has his/her back and vice versa. In many instances we spend a lot of time hunting for keywords on resumes and quizzing prospective candidates on technical issues before making a hire. Trust seems to be completely left out of the hiring equation.
Major General William A, Cohen, an Alpha Leader in his own right, writes, ""My research debunks the myth that many people seem to have . . . that you become a leader by fighting your way to the top. Rather, you become a leader by helping others to the top. Helping your employees is as important, and many times more so, than trying to get the most work out of them."
"The most valuable "currency" of any organization is the initiative and creativity of its members. Every leader has the solemn moral responsibility to develop these to the maximum in all his people. This is the leader's highest priority.", said Dr. W. Edwards Demming.
Dr. Suzanne Zoglio, founder of the Institute of Planning and Development based in Doylestown, PA, says, "as leaders shift their focus to customers and quality, they realize that the old authoritarian leadership style does not work anymore. To achieve quality, service, and rapid response, leaders must utilize all available talent. They must find ways to inspire, involve, and empower employees. They must create a work environment that encourages commitment, innovation, and cooperation. Instead of evaluating, leaders now coach. Instead of doing, they delegate. Instead of telling, they facilitate. No one is expected to boss anyone. Everyone is expected to participate."
Are you an Alpha Male? If you are, then your leadership style is becoming obsolete. It does not build strong teams. It does not inspire people to do their best. If your primary motivations are ego, money and status, you are destroying creativity in your teams. The old command and control leadership style is becoming increasingly irrelevant as innovation, commitment and participatory management are taking over. Gorillas may still need Alpha Males to lead their group, not organizations made up of human beings!