Contextual-less leadership

It is easy to fall down the rabbit hole of leadership theory, leadership styles, behavioural traits and the inevitable discussion of what makes the best leader. Much of the modern day research, rightly so, speaks to the idea of context when considering leadership.


A military leader vs a business leader. The democratic leader. The facilitative leader. Leading an organisation through rapid, transformational change vs leading in a stable environment. If you Google ‘types of leaders’, you will likely get:


  • 9 Common Leadership Styles
  • 12 Different Types Of Leadership Styles
  • 5 Types Of Leaders
  • 8 Most Common Leadership Styles
  • 10 Common Leadership Styles


So, what is the right leadership style? According to the research, it depends on the context. Right?


I used to think so. Yes…and then again, perhaps no? Confused?


As the structure, context of an organisation changes so does the type of leadership that is needed – so the theory goes. So how do we teach what is the right leadership?


We start with re-defining leadership and asking different questions.


The Contextual-less Leader

A contextual-less leader is a framework focusing on the behaviours and actions individuals need to develop and how they show up, every day; regardless of the role or position they play at work, at home, or in their community.


Contextual-less leadership is about removing connection between the role of a leader and leadership and defining each of these.


A leader is a construct given to an individual, either by virtue of their position or appointed by others, Eddie Mabo, Rosa Parks, and Chandra Shekhar Ghosh (the founder of Bandhan Financial Services) are examples of the latter. Becoming a leader was not the purpose of their work – they simply had a vision and motivation, desire to execute on it.

Leadership is about the person. Their vision, their beliefs, and their actions, who they show up as.


While not everyone may find themselves in the role of a leader, everyone can have and ‘be leadership’. And this is the basis of contextual-less leadership.


Building leadership in every individual creates the foundation for value-driven people/teams and enterprises. When the principles of leadership are understood – they change the way we show up; how we interact and engage with others and how we view our place in the world. When combined with a position of responsibility, synergy is created = where the value of what is created is greater than the sum of its parts.


Being leadership’ multiplies the technical role and function of a leader.

Jenni Walke

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