Is the Alpha leader dead?
“tending to assume a dominant or domineering role in social or professional situations.”
The only time I can categorically say I would be relieved to have an alpha around, would be in an emergency situation where I didn’t feel capable of figuring that shit out myself or with the people around me… so pretty much never then.
I’m noticing a real shift in my work as a leadership coach less alpha, more beta.
Men and women are tired, fed up, fu*ked off and frustrated with being dominated. Being told, ordered or bossed about. Being given a list of things to do and being told to crack on and deliver.
I mean where’s the freedom in that?
· Where’s the opportunity for creative collaboration?
· Where’s the potential for creating or crafting something even better? (multiple heads better than one)
· Where’s the opportunity for the people who do the work to feel good about themselves?
· What opportunity is there to feel empowered, inspired, connected?
I’ve never really liked being told what to do. I’m too independent and free thinking for that. Also I’ve had a lifetime of developing and redeveloping my relationship with power. I know first-hand what the worst end of being dominated feels like being a survivor of sexual violence. I also know what it feels like to find yourself working in an organisation that rewards alpha style domination. I know what energy (and what cost) it takes to lean in to that energy in order to fit in and be successful. I’ve seen first hand relationship after relationship at work slip away because, well there was no relationship, only dominance and power games.
And hey, I get it, it’s what we’ve always known… it’s how it’s always been. You can probably draw a line back to some medieval battle strategy…. An army needs their leader…. Bla bla bla. But do what you’ve always done and get what you’ve always got; burnout, poor relationships, disempowered people, unsatisfied employees. A flock of mute sheep.
Domination and alpha show up in all sorts of places in our lives… much has been written over the last few years about alpha energy and at a more extreme end, toxic masculinity. It’s in our friendship groups, our workplaces, our churches, our communicates and our families.
I’m interested in this topic of conversation for two reasons;
· The majority of my work in leader development requires me to navigate the topic of power. Understanding how power or dominance of an alpha energy plays out in the work place to support or hinder the development of conscious leaders and high performing teams is often at the core of my work. I’ve been known to step away from a client if I sensed their energy was toxic.
· My passion for supporting sustainable leadership and crafting a new way of living leading and working that operates in a more interconnected way with the earth and it’s resources. This work requires me to have a good understanding of power. As well as the courage to face into it.
Whether you can see it yet or not, the old way of doing things is slowly being eroded. It feels like we’re in the eye of the storm at the moment. Patriarchy (another alpha model) is a term that’s being overused currently but rightly so (there’s a lot about it that stinks and it needs to change for the good of men and women).
Articles on toxic masculinity are everywhere. Powerful (alpha) establishments (hello USA police and the entertainments industry) are being exposed and called to justice. Men’s mental health movements show of the damaging impact these cultures have on men being able to live fully, authentically, lovingly, successfully. Male suicide rates are at their worst ever. Women are frightened to be in their full feminine power for what attention it might call in. I mean the destruction list just goes on…
The old definition of success (dominance, growth at all costs, power at the top) is crumbling away faster than the sinking florida coastline or the ravaged amazon rain forest.
I’m finally in a space of being excited about this. Two years ago I was in an existential crisis about it. I couldn’t see how climate crisis could be tackled, it felt too big, inevitable. I’m out the other end now, feeling resourceful and ready for change. I’m ready for the new. . A beta model. A better model.
I speak to lots of coaching clients who are so ready to develop a different way of leading
Common themes that arise from these conversations include the desire for more;
- Community — better ways of collaborating across all levels
- Shared power — being involved in the decision making
- Relationship — more honesty, integrity, vulnerability and fairness
- Compassion — working with people who have permission to feel their feelings
- Sustainability — a new way of looking at success. How much is enough…?
- Love — heart centred leadership
So whatever your relationship to power, it’s worth a few minutes of your day reflecting on whether it’s a healthy one or not… here’s a few questions to get you thinking;
- When you think of your relationship to power, what kind of emotions do you become aware of?
- Are you more comfortable leading or being led? If you prefer to lead, what’s your signature style? Are you alpha or more beta?
- How much space and freedom do you give to others in your life for them to be free ? Or do you dominate/control/take over?
- What would you need to let go of in order to share the power more collaboratively in your life and work ?
- What might you need to face into to become more beta?
If you’re interested in 121 or small group support to develop your beta leaders for a better world, then please message me email@example.com . I’m committed to working with as many beta leaders as I can to help the world become a better place for all.