Power is Useless with Geeks

Nov 12th, 2002 by Tony in * one-offs

Traditionally, leadership is conceptualized as a special form of power relationship where leaders have substantial influence over the behaviour of followers and exercise that power for mutual benefit. With geekwork, you are attempting to harness the creativity of individuals and groups in its purest form. And although behaviour plays a role, it is substantially less important than in almost any other form of work.

Because power is about the regulation of behaviour, it has very little effect on creativity. Traditional methods of exercising control have very little positive effect on the inner state of mind of geeks. And so power itself becomes substantially less important a facet of the relationship between leaders and geeks.

We must rethink what it means to lead in the face of geekwork because most conceptions of leadership are intimately tied to notions of power.

— Paul Glen, Leading Geeks, Chapter 1

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