Learning Rewired

#02 The Paradox of Powerful Leadership

Leaders are under continuous pressure to deliver greater innovation and creativity. However, many businesses maintain power structures that are rigid and disempowering. How do business leaders respond to new paradigms of work while maintaining authority and trust?

In this episode, Alf Rehn joins us for a fascinating conversation exploring what modern power is, why successful leaders must learn to give it away, and how greater vulnerability in the boardroom is the key to success. This slot highlights Professor Alf Rehn’s illuminating views on questions like:

  • How do effective, positive legacy-building leaders engage with the concept of power?
  • What does the distribution of power within an organisation mean for a successful business?
  • Where do leaders start in building greater trust, loyalty and confidence in themselves and their organisations?
Alf Rehn, Professor of Innovation, Design, and Management - University of Southern Denmark
Meet our Guest

Alf Rehn

Alf Rehn is the Professor of Innovation, Design, and Management at the University of Southern Denmark and sits on numerous boards of directors.

His academic work focuses on issues of power, exclusion, creativity and innovation, and often builds on counter-intuitive analyses of core assumptions within management thinking.

Alf Rehn is a bestselling author recognized as a global thought-leader for his work in innovation and creativity, and has delivered numerous keynotes including Umeå’s TEDx and almost 1000 others where he is consistently rated as one of the best speakers earning him awards such as Speaker of the Year in Finland in 2010.

Rehn is also a strategic advisor for different corporations and has been listed on Thinkers50 on several occasions for “Up and Coming Business Thinkers” or more recently in On the Radar’s list featured as one of the world’s emerging thinkers with the potential to make lasting contributions to management theory and practice.

Learn more about Alf Rehn

In this Episode

What’s the paradox of "power"? Power isn't something that just resides in a person. It's a complex network where every time we deploy power, we also become the slaves of power. Say you think you have power, but by behaving in the way you are, you're actually creating a situation where people will not bring you ideas will not share their thoughts, they will not engage. And that is actually the opposite of power. By thinking your power, you're actually losing your power.
How to use "power" in the best way? If you want to create the kind of corporate power in which you build an organisation that innovates, wants to follow you and wants you to be the leader, the first thing you need to do is let go some trappings. You need to start listening and start thinking more about how you give power to others. That starts engendering things such as loyalty, such as trust, such as desire to follow - and, these are immensely more powerful in the long run than simply the ability to be able to say “jump” and the other party says “how high”.
Leaders have power. But, it doesn’t mean they understand power. Alf Rehn