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Beyond Hierarchies: The Impact of Leader-Centric Organizations

The difference between leaders and managers is a semantic debate for some and of vital importance for others. I personally belong to the latter group and believe that we should completely do away with managers. Especially if you are also willing to work in a Holacratic way and grant employees the autonomy they usually deserve.

The main differences between leadership and management.



Create visions

Create goals

Imagining a future state or direction for an organization or team. Provides a long-term focus and is often aspirational.

Setting clear, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound targets for what needs to be achieved.

Take risks

Control risks

Venturing into unknown territories or making decisions without having all the information, hoping for bigger rewards.

Identifying, assessing, and taking steps to minimize or mitigate risks, ensuring that risks are managed and controlled effectively.

Think long term

Work for short term

Planning and strategizing for the distant future, often years ahead. It's about seeing the bigger picture and preparing for it.

Concentrating on immediate tasks and results, focusing on achieving quick wins and immediate results for the coming weeks or months.



Guiding, mentoring, and training individuals to improve their skills and reach their potential, helping others to grow.

Giving orders or instructions with a clear sense of direction, often without much discussion or input from others.

Are proactive

Are reactive

Taking initiative, anticipating problems or needs, and acting before they become issues, being one step ahead.

Responding to events or situations as they arise rather than anticipating them, being responsive based on current situations.

Lead people

Manage people

Guiding and motivating a group towards achieving a common vision or goal, often by inspiring and influencing them.

Overseeing and ensuring that a team or group functions effectively, including tasks like scheduling, delegating, and performance reviewing.



Leading or advising someone, helping them find a direction or answer without imposing one's own will.

Pushing or motivating individuals to achieve results, often with a sense of urgency or purpose.

See potential

See performance

This involves recognizing untapped abilities or future possibilities in individuals or situations, even if they aren't immediately obvious.

Focusing on the current abilities, results, or output of an individual or team. It's about evaluating what is rather than what could be.

20 benefits of strong leadership without traditional management within a company

  1. Maneuverability: Without the hierarchical layers of management, the organization can make faster decisions and adapt more flexibly to changes in the market.

  2. Employee Empowerment: In such a structure, employees often have more autonomy and responsibility, which can lead to increased involvement and motivation.

  3. Simplified Communication: Communication can be more direct and efficient because there are fewer bureaucratic layers for information to pass through.

  4. Increased Innovation: With a flatter structure, new and innovative ideas can surface and be implemented more quickly.

  5. Clarity in Roles: Without the traditional management hierarchy, more emphasis can be placed on clearly defining everyone's roles and responsibilities, which can help prevent overlap or neglect of tasks.

  6. Cost reduction: By reducing or eliminating management layers, the organization can save on salaries and other related costs.

  7. Culture of Trust: A model that is less dependent on supervision and control can promote a culture of trust and responsibility.

  8. Increased Transparency: Without the traditional dividing lines between management and employees, there can be a greater degree of openness and transparency within the organization.

  9. Employee Development: By coaching and seeing the potential in people, leaders can help employees to develop professionally and personally continuously.

  10. Long-Term Durability: With a focus on the long term and seeing potential, decisions can be made that ensure more sustainable results in the future, rather than just immediate short-term profits.

  11. More Inclusive Decision-Making: Leaders who coach and guide can foster a more inclusive culture of decision-making, where input from diverse team members is valued and considered.

  12. Better Team Dynamics: A proactive approach can help identify and address potential problems or conflicts in the team early before they escalate.

  13. Intrinsic motivation: By focusing on vision, potential, and coaching, leaders can create an environment where employees feel intrinsically motivated, leading to higher satisfaction and engagement.

  14. Future-oriented Strategy: Leaders who promote long-term thinking help the organization be prepared for future market changes and trends, allowing the company to gain a competitive advantage.

  15. Greater Resilience: By taking risks and being proactive, organizations can be better prepared for unexpected challenges and navigate them effectively.

  16. Talent Retention: Organizations that focus on coaching their employees and recognizing their potential are better able to retain top talent. Employees are more likely to stay with an organization that invests in their growth and development.

  17. Organic Growth: With a focus on vision and leading people, a culture of continuous improvement and organic growth can be created, leading to expansion and new opportunities for the company.

  18. Deeper Customer Relationships: Leaders who focus on long-term vision and relationship building can develop deeper and more meaningful connections with customers, which can result in customer loyalty and repeat business.

  19. Authenticity: Organizations that prioritize leadership over management can be seen as more authentic, which can build trust with both employees and customers.

  20. Increased Employee Satisfaction: A leadership approach that focuses on guidance, recognition of potential, and proactive engagement can lead to higher employee satisfaction and well-being, which in turn can increase overall productivity and retention.

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