Gianpiero Petriglieri, Associate Professor of Organizational Behaviour, INSEAD

On Humanizing Leadership in an age of Nomadic Professionalism

Gianpiero Petriglieri

“In today’s workplace two kinds of boundaries have become less clear”, notes INSEAD’s Gianpiero Petriglieri (full article here). “First, the boundary between organizations and sectors. People move around more than they used to. Second, the boundary between what is personal and what is professional.

People don’t necessarily expect or even desire to have their whole career in the same organization or even country. That makes work more precarious. At the same time, people want work to be an expression of who they are, of their true selves — whatever that means. That makes work more personal.

This decoupling of commitment and loyalty, and this mixture of precariousness and personalization, are phenomena that require us to rethink not just the relationship between organizations and individuals but also the meaning of work, leadership and leadership development.”

Gianpiero’s award winning work bridges the domains of leadership, identity, and learning. Of particular interest is the meaning and development of leadership in the age of “nomadic professionalism,” in which many people have deep bonds to work but loose affiliations to organizations, and authenticity and mobility have replaced loyalty and advancement as hallmarks of virtue and success.

In this shifting context he examines what it means, and what it takes, to become a leader.

He believes that we need a perception shift in the way we have been thinking about leadership, noting that much of our current leadership development is still designed for World War Two-era military and homogeneous organizations. Organizations where developing leaders meant helping people to rise up and distinguish themselves.

Today’s leadership development must be “reoriented towards a different goal, that is, keeping people connected to themselves and others — the two connections we need for a shared purpose and direction to emerge.”

As he shared with Thinkers50, “I think we’d be a lot better off with a definition of leadership as having the courage, commitment, ability and the trust to articulate, embody and help realize the story of possibility — for a group of people, at a point in time. That is closer to what leaders really do.”

We are honoured to have Gianpiero join us at the House of Beautiful Business in Lisbon, Nov 3–10th, 2017. Until then, explore more of his writing at the Harvard Business Review.

The House of Beautiful Business, takes place in Lisbon, November 3–10th, 2017. Alongside fellow start-up founders, executives, nonprofit leaders, investors, writers, philosophers, scientists, designers, technologists, artists, we will be discussing and prototyping how to lead with purpose and passion; how to build human companies and workplaces; and how to design for deeper connections in an age of exponential change and massive societal disruption.

Hosted in collaboration with the BCG Henderson Institute, the House will serve as salon, stage, and sandbox for people who are keen on rehumanizing business and exploring meaningful conversations around humanity and technology. You can find more information and buy tickets at: