The Fall of the Alpha Leader

The hero and the genius are outdated fantasies.

Modern life is too fast and complex for powerful individuals to save the day. For CEO and author of Wilful Blindness, Margaret Heffernan, the idea of the heroic individual is a fantasy.

Here she speaks to the IAI about the myth of the heroic individual, and why the most successful businesses are adopting radical new organisational structures.


In your talk on IAI TV, you suggested that when considering positions of authority and leadership we collectively buy into the myth of what you called ‘the heroic individual’. What exactly is the ‘heroic individual?’

A heroic individual is a person who thinks, “I’m the smartest guy in the room [it usually is a guy] and my job as leader is to know everything and to be able to make all the decisions, to be able to make all the right decisions faster, and better than anyone else can”.

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