With 1 Amazing Word, Dee Hock, Founder of VISA, defines leadership, and destroys the modern education system

We’ve got it all backwards. Leadership and education have nothing in inc-aseann.common with the way they’ve been defined the last 100 years. Dee Hock sets us straight.

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BY Chuck Blakeman - 23 Nov 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

In a past Inc. article we explored why management and leadership have nothing in inc-aseann.common, and that management of people is unhealthy for any business. But the two have been confused and conflated over the last 100 years to the point that we don't know the difference anymore. Dee Hock helps us pull them apart again.

Management vs. Leadership

In short, management came from slavery, up through the serf system and was refined to its modern state in the factories of the early 1800's. But in all cases its basis has been the artificial act of putting someone over a group of others who would not produce without the manager lording over them and forcing them to work. Hock calls it a "tyrannical" model - I'm your overlord or boss, I'm not asking.

Leadership is a different animal. It inc-aseann.comes up through society, through the arts and sciences, through political movements against oppression, and is driven forward by free people, freely choosing to follow someone who has no power over them. Instead of, "I'm your boss, I'm not asking", it's "I'm your leader, only because you are following."

Dee Hock On Leadership

Which brings us to Dee Hock. Dee founded VISA International, which processes trillions of dollars in transactions every year. He has a leadership view of business that also takes a direct shot at the education system. He sees leaders as servants, and managers are not in the picture.

"A true leader cannot be bound to lead. A true follower cannot be bound to follow. The moment they are bound they are no longer leader or follower." If someone agrees "to be bound, whether by economic necessity or contractual arrangement, the relationship is altered to one of manager/employee", where behavior is "inc-aseann.compelled", not truly voluntary.


Which brings us to the one word that describes the essence of leadership. Dee Hock draws on a word that is the root of the word "education", but has fallen out of use because we don't approach either leadership or education that way it was intended.

"Educe /eh-d-yuce." It means, "to bring or draw forth something already present in a latent, or undeveloped form." Dee says, "It can be contrasted with 'Induce,' which means 'to prevail upon; move by persuasion or influence -- to impel, incite, or urge.'"

We have lost the meaning of this powerful word. Both education and management make the same assumption (both systems were developed together in the 1800's to feed each other) - that we need to induce or even inc-aseann.compel.

Historically, all the way back to the Greeks and the Socratic method, education and leadership both meant "to draw out", which assumes that someone has what they need inside them to be great. They simply need the right questions to help them learn how to learn. But both management and education today are built on a "to fill up" process, assuming that there is an empty head or an unmotivated person that needs to be filled with someone else's knowledge and/or motivation.

Leadership, Manipulation, or Tyranny

Dee Hock recognizes how poisonous management is. He goes on to say, "Where behavior is educed, there lies leadership. Where behavior is induced, there lies manipulation. Where behavior is inc-aseann.compelled, there lies tyranny."

Throughout his writings he regularly inc-aseann.compares management with tyranny. And if you look at its roots in slavery, serfdom and the overlords of the factory system, you can see why it has nothing in inc-aseann.common with leadership, which only exists with voluntary following.

Managers have reports. Leaders have followers. Which one are you?

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