Can You Have Success In Leadership Without Structure?

Structure is important

Last week I ended the week with some thoughts on the nature of “struggle” and how it interacts with the leadership process. Today I want to look at the nature of “structure” and how it interacts with leadership.

I have spent the last 4 years of my “day job” dealing with large-scale commercial real estate. I have been very fortunate to work on the largest commercial real estate project in all of North America. One of the things that was obvious, even to the inexperienced, was that without the proper structure, a building would collapse.

Bad things happen without proper structure.

The same is true in leadership and with organizational entities. Structure is vital.

Over the course of my coaching with various organizations, one thing I have found all too often. Organizations with a strong central leader often lack structure to the overall organization. Many times these organizations are led solely through the power and presence of a strong personality.

But is that enough? Is a strong central leader enough to carry an organization?

No! A strong, charismatic, powerful, energetic and magnetic leader can take an organization only so far. At some point there must be some structure put into place in order for the organization to move beyond the initial excitement phase and on to real sustained growth. Providing that structure is the role of a leader.

“But wait! I am just not a structured person!”

That is OK. Your role as a leader is ultimately to provide that structure. If you don’t possess those skills personally, then it is incumbent upon you to reach out and bring structured people into the organization and put them in key leadership roles. And then it is incumbent upon you to get out of their way and let them bring structure and order to the organization.

What is the leadership lesson here?


The leadership lesson here is one of humility. As leaders we need to recognize our limitations. There are different skill-sets within the entire scope of leadership. We need understand where we are gifted and where we are not.

Visionary leaders and “big idea” leaders are great. And these leaders are powerful catalysts for explosive growth early in an organizations lifecycle. But it takes a different skill set to sustain that growth over the long haul or to expand the scope of an existing organization. Recognizing the skills that you possess and knowing what the organization needs to grow and where the gap exists between those requires a large degree of introspection and is where some of that humility comes into play.

Do you know your limitations? Have you surrounded yourself with folks who only tell you how clever you are? If so, then you may not have the structure in place that your organization needs to succeed.

Real leaders know their limits. Let us bring some structure to your organization. Let us help you.

Photo credit: State Library of Queensland, Australia / Foter / No known copyright restrictions
Photo credit: sanbeiji / Foter / CC BY-SA
Photo credit: Blue Diamond Photography / Foter / CC BY

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I am the husband of a beautiful and wonderful woman. I am the father of two of the greatest kids on the planet. I am a father-in-law to a great young woman. And I am Papa to three very special grandchildren. In my spare time I am an active blogger and writer. And if there is any time left over, I work with small non-profit organizations and churches on the topics of change management, crisis intervention and leadership development.

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