Mimetic Desire and Leadership: Harnessing the Power of Imitation

Mimetic desire is a concept that has been explored extensively in the fields of anthropology, psychology, and sociology. Coined by French philosopher René Girard, the term refers to the process of imitating the desires of others, particularly when it comes to aspirations and ambitions. This blog post will delve into the connection between mimetic desire and leadership, and how understanding this concept can enhance your ability to lead and inspire others.

The Power of Mimetic Desire

Mimetic desire is a natural human instinct. It helps individuals form relationships, learn from one another, and adapt to their environment. As a social species, humans have a strong need to belong and fit in, which often leads us to imitate the behaviors, values, and desires of those we admire. This can be both a blessing and a curse, as it can lead to growth and progress, but also to unhealthy competition and envy.

Leadership and Mimetic Desire

At its core, leadership is about influencing others to achieve common goals. A good leader can motivate, inspire, and guide others to strive for greatness. By understanding the power of mimetic desire, leaders can harness this natural instinct to create a positive and productive environment.

Lead by Example
One of the most effective ways to use mimetic desire in leadership is to lead by example. When leaders display the qualities they wish to see in their team, such as hard work, determination, and empathy, they inspire those around them to adopt these behaviors. This not only fosters a positive work culture but also contributes to the success of the organization.

Cultivate a Culture of Growth and Collaboration
Mimetic desire can sometimes lead to unhealthy competition and rivalry within a team. To prevent this, leaders should emphasize the importance of growth and collaboration over competition. By nurturing a supportive environment where team members can learn from one another, leaders can harness the power of mimetic desire to drive collective progress.

Identify and Encourage Positive Role Models
Leaders can capitalize on the influence of mimetic desire by identifying and encouraging positive role models within their team. These role models can serve as examples for others to emulate, creating a ripple effect of positive behaviors and attitudes. By acknowledging and rewarding these individuals, leaders can reinforce the importance of adopting these desirable qualities.

Address Negative Patterns and Behaviors
Mimetic desire can sometimes lead to the spread of negative behaviors and attitudes. Leaders must be proactive in addressing these issues to prevent them from becoming ingrained in the team culture. By openly discussing these behaviors and providing constructive feedback, leaders can guide their team towards healthier, more positive patterns.


Mimetic desire is a powerful force that can significantly impact the dynamics within a team or organization. By understanding and harnessing its potential, leaders can inspire and motivate their team to achieve greater heights. By leading by example, cultivating a culture of growth and collaboration, identifying and encouraging positive role models, and addressing negative patterns, leaders can create an environment where mimetic desire contributes to the success of their organization.

Please go to www.abqpodcast.com where you can get show notes, resources, and links to everything we talked about today to help you navigate your journey as an entrepreneur and business owner. Be sure to follow me on Instagram at @abqjasonrigby  or Twitter at @abqjasonrigby also don’t forget to sign up for our email list where I drop exclusive business strategies & marketing secrets to help you and your business grow!