Leadership: Being a Person Beyond Roles

The bad performance of a company depends on many problems that can arise, sometimes unexpected or unpredictable, but also on the inability of those who manage it to put the person at the center, to reserve to people the human condition and the dignity required.

Leading a company, small or large, or even just a group, requires very important human skills. Usually, a business organization runs if those who guide it know how to put everyone in the position to give their best, to feel recognized in their dignity, to feel valued, and, why not, loved.

Roles are necessary, but they must be in tune with the objectives and ways to achieve them.

Among other things, we are faced with an increase in social complexity, with a consequent impact on working and professional life, as well as on the person. Recently amplified by the health emergency of the global pandemic. The scenario and the causes are there for all to see: rapid changes in the field of communications (social media) and consequent modification of relationships, of the meaning of life which is made up of continuous and quick stimuli to be responded to. The lack of sharing of universal values, due to growing ethical and social relativism, also plays an important role.

For years we have struggled to agree on what the common good was, today perhaps rediscovered “thanks” to the common evil that affects people’s lives without distinction of social, political, economic, and ethnic status. At work and in organizations, globalization and digital transformation are requiring adaptation and an ability to sustain international competition, stimuli that are sometimes greater than the ability to respond. The challenge of real organizational well-being, not just branding or tax savings, seems distant.

The role we adopt is our opportunity to show what we are capable of giving and doing.

Being a person as well as a worker means opening up to a broader panoramic perspective and allowing all selves to bring novelty and beauty to their role. It means giving voice to emotions, putting them into play, and exploiting them in the management of relationships, not fearing them but letting them humanize the environments. A healthy vulnerability, which makes us real, authentic, and alive.

Being a person beyond the professional role means knowing how to be now fathers, now children, now friends even in one’s work environment. It means valuing the time we give ourselves, knowing that not the quantity but the ability to be effective with psychological presence, emotional management, inner freedom, and authenticity, are the real strength of our leadership.

The quality time that we will have dedicated to ourselves outside of working hours will be the new lifeblood of our creativity, inspiration, concentration, and effectiveness at work. To be complete and free people. Working with the awareness that the personality exceeds the roles and that each role is not exhaustive of the personality, which alone cannot shape and define it. So as to be an example and inspire others, not with words but by concretizing them with facts.

Being a leader, being a manager today, aware of our personality and of others, means understanding and managing complexity by building bonds, sharing meaning and actions, walking in partnership, to reduce social anxiety and stress, and knowing that the future is built in present and that for a winning success, you need humanity, you need authenticity, you need slowness to counteract haste, you need dialogue, comparison and the ability to “waste” time with each other, you need to make mistakes, know how to start over, be vulnerable, humble, because this is the true strength of the person, the only means to build a happy present and a solid future.

Roles are important, they must be clarified and respected, but people are waiting for that moral, civic and intellectual recognition that breaks down barriers and opens walls to the understanding and collaboration of people who look at the world with the eyes and heart of those who are. feels like a brother and not a competitor.

I hope these reflections resonate with someone. Any comment can animate a discussion.


Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo is a lawyer and teacher of law & Economic Sciences, "lent" to the finance world. He has worked, in fact, 35 years long for a multinational company of financial service in the auto sector, where he held various roles, until that of CEO. In the corporate field, he has acquired skills and held positions as Credit Manager, Human Resource Manager, Team leader for projects of Acquisition & Merger, branch opening, company restructuring, outplacement, legal compliance, analysis and innovation of organizational processes, business partnerships, relations with Trade Unions and Financial Control Institutions. After leaving the company, he continued as an external member of the Board of Directors e, at the same time, he has gone back practicing law and was a management consultant for various companies. He has been also a columnist for newspapers specializing in labor law, automotive services and work organization. His interests include human behavior in the organizational environment, to the neuroscience, the impact of new technologies, the fate of the planet and people facing poverty or war scenarios. He loves traveling, reading, is passionate about many sports, follows the NBA and practices tennis.

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  1. Great article, Aldo,

    Leaders lead people and not machines. The leaders should keep this in mind always.

    The recent epidemic crisis has reshaped the work environment and relationships. So rightly you highlighted the need for employees to have a balanced life-work relationship because they feedback to each other. They are not two separate domains.
    You expressed this fact elegantly “The quality time that we will have dedicated to ourselves outside of working hours will be the new lifeblood of our creativity, inspiration, concentration, and effectiveness at work.”

    Work demands creative ideas. Employees shall not have creative ideas unless they live not only for the work, but also for other important needs for self and families.
    The health of the minds of employees shalll affect the health of their work. We need to remember this.