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Rob Cross grew up in a small country town in Victoria, Australia. From an early age he developed a deep passion for understanding people and for leadership. Throughout his career, Rob’s focus has been on developing leaders so they can improve performance by empowering people to deliver their best contribution. In founding Muru Leadership, Rob’s aim is to unlock the potential in others. Through Muru, Rob brings together over 20 years of research, practical experience of developing others and hands-on leadership, to create a new approach to unlocking true potential. whitefox spoke to Rob about his upcoming book The Great Man is Dead.
Tell us a little about the inspiration behind the title of your upcoming book The Great Man is Dead?
The inspiration for The Great Man is Dead came from being tired of reading books about leadership that focus only on the story of some hero or are based on interviews with CEOs. While these books provide a momentary spike of inspiration, they rarely help people in the long term. Why? Because these books perpetuate the hero model of leadership – The Great Man – which causes others to live in its shadows. That is to say, these books put people up on pedestals and tell us that this model is what we should aspire to be.
The Great Man is Dead therefore isn’t about the stories of heroes. It is focused on helping people create their own path for how they will lead and live so that they can find greater success and fulfilment in their life.
What can people hope to gain from reading The Great Man is Dead?
Through reading The Great Man is Dead people will learn to let go of the things that are holding them back. They’ll learn to let go of the belief that they need to be an all-seeing, all-knowing hero in their lives. In doing this they’ll then learn how to become more comfortable in their own skin by focusing on who they want to be. They’ll learn to focus on what is most important to them, ensuring this is where they focus their energy. And finally, they’ll learn how to act with mindful intention, ensuring that they lead and live as they want to in their lives.
‘The Great Man is Dead is focused on helping people create their own path for how they will lead and live so that they can find greater success and fulfilment in their life’
What is the mission of your company, Muru Leadership?
The mission of Muru Leadership is to create positive systemic change in individuals, teams and organisations. We do this by helping to unlock the true human potential of leaders and their teams.
‘There is no such thing as the all-seeing, all-knowing hero leader who can provide certainty and security to us all’
Leadership is more important than ever in this unprecedented time. How do you think this moment in history will affect leaders and leadership?
The COVID-19 crisis we are living through reveals to us that there is no such thing as the all-seeing, all-knowing hero leader who can provide certainty and security to us all. The crisis has therefore put the final nail in the coffin of ‘The Great Man’ model of leadership. In doing this, however, the crisis has also taught us that a more human model of leadership is required.
Tell us about ‘The 3 Questions’ to unlocking true human potential.
In an age where the pace and complexity of change is only increasing, the activation of what drives our behaviour – our human dilemmas – is causing us all to experience a heightened degree of anxiety. To be able to find greater success and fulfilment in our current times we therefore need an approach that helps us embrace what it means to be human. This means to embrace and use our human dilemmas to help us achieve what we desire.
‘The 3 Questions’ provide a simple yet immensely powerful set of tools to help us create a new path for our lives. It helps us get clear on who we want to be and where we want to focus our attention and energy. And, in doing this, it helps us act in a way that allows us to achieve the success and fulfilment we are seeking at work and in life.
‘In an age where the pace and complexity of change is only increasing, the activation of what drives our behaviour – our human dilemmas – is causing us all to experience a heightened degree of anxiety.’
In an increasingly digital world, why did you decide to ‘go traditional’ by creating a physical book?
Over the last twenty years I’ve learnt that each of us like to learn in different ways. With this in mind I wanted to make sure that people are able to access The Great Man is Dead in the format that works best for them.
‘I believe self-publishing gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of what you do with your book’
In The Great Man is Dead you talk about a human-led philosophy of leadership. Why is this new model necessary in the 21st century?
In the 21st century technology is having an increasing influence over our lives. What’s worst is that often we’ve adopted new technologies in a bid to drive greater convenience and connection before we’ve really understood what the impact on our lives will be. And I believe that this is the case both in and outside of work. To balance this impact we need to remember that first and foremost we are human beings leading and supporting other human beings. The human-led philosophy captured in The Great Man is Dead therefore seeks to help us understand what it means to be human and to connect more effectively to this.
Finally, why did you decide to self-publish The Great Man is Dead?
Self-publishing I believe gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of what you do with your book. My goal with The Great Man is Dead is to make it as accessible to as many people as I can to help them achieve what they want in their lives. I believe that self-publishing will help me do this.
The Great Man is Dead publishes on 11 June. Pre-order your copy by clicking here.