Throughout history and especially in business, aggressive leaders have run the show. These alphas told people what to do and didn’t much care about feedback. In their mind, they knew what was right, and they were going to conform whatever was around them to that vision. Success was their only option and they’d do anything to achieve it.
Things have changed. A book called The Fall of the Alphas (which Rex Huppke also mentions in the Chicago Tribune), now describes how betas are taking over. While alphas take charge, aggressively make decisions, and communicate with others, betas don’t communicate as harshly and cooperate with other people. Alphas intimidate, betas don’t. Alphas promote competition, while betas encourage teamwork. In this Internet-connected crowdsourced world, it’s about building a community rather than a cut-throat, winner-takes-all environment.
This new way of leading and building a company seems to already be affecting not only companies, such as Zappos, but in business schools as well. Take a look at some classes at the University of Chicago, and a key skill to be developed is learning how to work as a group. Here, each student concentrates on their strengths to contribute to the groups’ overall success. The students in Chicago even fly to London and Singapore to meet and connect with other U of C business students abroad.
Betas will someday rule the business world. Now is the time to accept the trend in your own company to maximize performance and results. While it’s not a democracy, lead by building consensus when possible. Know how to delegate your weaker areas. Alphas can sometimes rule by fear, but they will never gain what really matters: loyalty.