Post-heroic means that you give up the grand gestures. It may mean that you let go of the role of the hero and find the human being behind the mask. You take a step towards yourself, and at the same time towards the others. You realise that irritation is compulsory. It enlightens, and it can transform unfortunate dead-end streets into attractive crossroads. You decide.
What does it mean, how do I define the post-heroic?
At first, as a management that stays connected to others: this it what lies behind the notion of “post-heroic”. Unlike the hero, who rushes ahead of all others, the post-heroic manager is fully awake, in touch with employees, peers and stakeholders. He may be faster than the others, because he is immediately able to detect the opportunity hidden in a risk and the new option provided by a conflict, but this speed does not separate him at all from the others. On the contrary; in conflict situations he listens attentively, he is empathic; and then, taking the next step, he is able to communicate his insights and inspires his environment to follow his lead. His leadership emerges from the centre. He leads while being centred within himself, but also with an awareness of the centre of his team and his company.
The image of the hero reflects a rather different scenario: One single hero is often followed by a thousand who merely perform their functions – people who have no individual ideas about what should be done. They neither can, nor have to, or want to, think for themselves; they feel no impulse to act. But this is something we do not need any more in our contemporary economy: a thousand people who follow blindly are nothing than a thousand employees who neither show, nor live or unlock, their individual potential. Companies depend on the creativity and productivity of those who work for them.
On a more general note: post-heroic management represents an attitude of appreciation and dignity, without losing sight of economic concepts and their successful implementation.
Look at my book “Die Zeit der Helden ist vorbei” – The Aera of Heroes is gone…