Unplugged Leadership


Does Unplugged Leadership make you think of music? Are you hearing the musician, alone on the stage, inspiring the audience without the use of a giant backing band or distracting special effects?


If so, you’re capturing the essence of good leadership. I see “Unplugged Leadership” as a new and authentic approach to reaching collaborative goals -without being dependent on a hierarchal powerbase.

Live music connoisseurs often describe the best concerts as intimate encounters where a strong sense of understanding developed between the artist and the audience. Leaders with what is now known as a “major X factor” are present, react to the audience and give back inspiration that is truly usable.

As an Unplugged Leader you will always be ready to take center stage and express your core issues in a manner that creates both intuitive meaning and immediate action, allowing your audience, your people, to choose your leadership.

In the complex and fast paced interactions of our present lives, many leaders return to the same form of plain and personal expression as did the unplugged musicians of the late 80s. Massive and protracted communication is being replaced with a razor sharp focus on the clear and catalytic messages and leadership engagement that eliminates costly misunderstandings.

To some, being unplugged is a deliberate choice, allowing for a leadership style with more carrot than stick. To others, the Unplugged approach is an operational requirement, being the only way organizations like partner based companies, non-profit charities and highly project dependent businesses can be truly successful.

In essence, the Unplugged Leader follows what may be summarized as the leadership TAO – the proactive path that requires the leader to take Time, build Agreements and remain Observant. It sounds easy and it is. In fact the path becomes both fun and fulfilling for anyone willing to consider the supporting “Ten Realizations” that will be further discussed in the forthcoming book titled Unplugged Leadership.

Taking time requires you to investigate and respect your particular leadership role and responsibility; not just in principle but in the particular, where proper preparation and prioritization is the only prevention against unplanned events and perpetual overload.

Building agreements is the single most important leadership skill. Once removed from personally doing the tasks, the long-term leader is entirely dependent on good agreements to get any job done; a robust and motivating agreement still is and always will be the only cure for conflict.

Remaining observant encourages you to think preventively and chose to capture and comment the small uncertainties before they grow in to major errors. With invested time and aligned agreements, however, there are never reactive control, only appreciative observations.

At the core – like a corporation employing values rather than detailed rulebooks to allow for individual judgments – the Unplugged Leader leverages conviction and purpose to define his or her personal leadership space which in turn enables fair and transparent decisions regarding both performance and behavior.

Ulrik Ramsing is Executive Advisor of CfL Centre for Leadership, Denmark, one of the international affiliations of de Baak. He works with leadership development and large-scale cultural change using action learning, social media, customized board games and dilemma simulations. He is the author of the forthcoming book introducing Unplugged Leadership. If you are interested in a training please contact our Tailormade desk: +31 343 556369.


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