Ron Heifetz describes the leadership we usually look for, compared to the leadership we really need, in Leadership Without Easy Answers:
In a crisis we tend to look for the wrong kind of leadership. We call for someone with answers, decision, strength, and a map of the future, someone who knows where we ought to be going – in short, someone who can make hard problems simple. But problems…are not [always] simple. Instead of looking for saviors, we should be calling for leadership that will challenge us to face problems for which there are no simple, painless solutions – problems that require us to learn new ways.
We have many such problems…Making progress on these problems demands not just someone who provides answers from on high but changes in our attitudes, behavior, and values. To meet challenges such as these, we need a different idea of leadership and a new social contract that promote our adaptive capacities, rather than inappropriate expectations of authority.
Another Heifetz quote I wrote down today:
Imagine the differences in behavior between leaders who operate with the idea that “leadership means influencing the organization to follow the leader’s vision” and those who operate with the idea that “leadership means influencing the organization to face its problems and live into its opportunities.”