Can Thinkers Be Leaders?

"I’m smarter than that idiot, why is he my boss?"

Many a researcher, writer, engineer, architect, designer, musician, and performers at the tops of their respective professions lament this sentiment on a daily basis, but nothing seems to change. Why? If these are the actual people who deliver the true vision and innovations that drive organizations forward, why don’t they make it to the very top?

It’s easy enough to blame it on politics, nepotism, manipulation and more; but I believe the truth lies somewhere else. Drucker had stated the differences between decision-makers and advisors, and I think the insight is somewhere in observations of that nature.

Before the hyper-linked organizations and open, conversational marketplace of today, a lot of things about the thinker and doer team held true. But now, in the age of connected creativity, great leaders are a bit of both. Previously, those who thought too much never had the balls to act, and those who acted never has the patience for analysis. True as that may still be, the next economy is seemingly blurring the lines between the two.

As innovation and creativity in all forms from business model to design become the true advantage, those at the helm have little choice but to contribute to it. The innovative partner or employee become more powerful and less obedient as their contribution becomes more critical to the ultimate success of the business. The only way leaders get "creative" creds in such a scenario is to either be creative themselves or empower those who are. They have to "think" and not just do, even though it seems that "thinking" might be an impediment to action.

Can thinkers be leaders? In the connection age there’s not much of a choice.

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