Julio Velasco and his Interpretation of the Concept of Leadership
25th February 2017. Julio Velasco tells us about his experience as trainer in International Volleyball: his narration is about the players, the Italian National Volleyball team and his training experience.
He explains to the audience his interpretation of the concept of leadership. A transversal concept that goes from the sports field to the common reality of today’s world. With one focus: the human being.
Nowadays our society is deeply affected by change. Many social concepts are also changing in same way. At present, the concept of leadership indicates different practices with respect to the past. The model which once was pyramidal, hierarchical and authoritative has become a relational one.
A New Humanism
We think organizations are made of people who are of equal value. The current concept of leadership focuses on the person, its meaning and its communication. In fact, we need to communicate with given contents and directions if we want to succeed in conveying our personal vision of reality and reach successfully our set objectives involving the others, too. We know motivation is the real propeller for a human being, because we feel we become part of a whole world through the role we perform. This way, we get to believe we can grow in experience, learn and evolve. The leader has to believe that he himself can change in the first instance and create the practical conditions to achieve a real transformation. In this perspective, the person itself represents both the starting as well as the final point of the process.
Panta rei was Eraclito’s teaching: reality has not a static nature, but a changing one. In the same way, the concept of leadership involves the possibility of a change depending on our strictly human learning and adaptation abilities. Our self-confidence (and not our egocentricity) encourages us to be optimistic and positive about the fact that the others can change. Consequently, our human relations become complete and self-conscious.
According to Simmel, a society can only exist if it is based on trust. Paradoxically, social disintegration happens with the absence of social trust. Nowadays the concept of leadership allows us to salvage the social agreement of a community: it encourages people to be involved in shared objectives heading for the same direction. How should our team play? How should our team be organized? Such should be our questions. If every single person in a team can improve just one of their characteristics, then a real breakthrough could be possible. Based on this precondition, a lot of improvement can be obtained.
The winning mindset allows us to reach our shared objectives with confidence and optimism. These two social attitudes should also involve determination (whose mindset consists in being concentrated on present activities) and authenticity (the pursuit of a personal way to make our behavioural attitude work at its best). Such are the preconditions allowing the existence of society itself and they are both implied in the practice of leadership, which is in turn a necessary social condition, too.
The main characteristic a leader should have is to recognize and accept the complex nature of the human relationship: this can be obtained by appreciating the value of each person and by putting ourselves in somebody else’s shoes by practising empathy. For this very reason, we can criticize a person (by a simple evaluation), but without expressing a definitive and unchangeable judgment. At present we live in a complex society where difficulties of cohesion and comprehension are increasing. Therefore, the performance of leadership involves an adaptation to a complex reality, through the practice of the abilities of synthesis and understanding as forms of empathy.
Choice and Responsibility
Debating the nature of the concept of leadership has involved a discussion on all the themes referring to our vision of mankind: human beings, communication, respect and social cohesion, sharing values and objectives, mutual empathy and understanding. We are perfectly aligned with the current elaboration of social theories and practices related to our times. Ultimately, leadership is behaviour and action: it involves making decisions under personal responsibility among the available choices.
We should not find solutions, but debate all the possible themes. Humanism can thus be realized and remain an option for the future as well.