After a considerable vacation from blogging, I have decided to return. Of course, the Word Press dashboard looks completely different so I will have to spend some time learning where everything is and everything went. I am still beating (or getting beaten by) MadCap Flare, which I will hope to do something about in the upcoming weeks. I have until Nov. 1 before my year’s support evaporates.
Leadership. The word probably evokes a thousand different feelings in a thousand different people (leader or not). In organizations, effective leadership is essential; I don’t think any one is arguing against that.
A recent discussion in a LinkedIn group (I believe the continuous improvement one) presented a very concise, to-the-point discussion of effective leadership from the Harvard Business Review. You can read the post here: http://blogs.hbr.org/hbr/nayar/2013/08/tests-of-a-leadership-transiti.html?goback=%2Egde_52933_member_264494538
Since I concluded in my Culture Change series that leadership has to drive culture change because they own the responsibility to respond to actions for better or for worse, I want to facilitate and enable “good leadership” wherever I can.
Which leads me to some serious thinking I had to do 10 or so years back, when I was constructing a course for the lead persons in our organization, regarding what makes a good leader. For most of the persons in our lead person position, this was their first “leadership” experience in a work setting. And the vast majority of persons coming into lead person positions were doing so based on criteria that had nothing to do with their perceived leadership ability. For the majority, they became lead persons because they knew best how to do the job. And while that is a strong need in a lead person, it does not necessarily correlate with the ability to lead. Thus, a course was in order.
And as I thought about leadership in the development process, I came across what I believe may be a little-discussed truth as it relates to leadership: the number one essential need for an effective leader is a group of followers convinced they need leading.
My experience continually points back to that truth. You’ve certainly heard of “leading by example;” well, leading by example is of no value unless you have someone willing to follow by imitation.
Essential to leading, frankly, is developing a “followership” that accepts your leadership. Building a followership can be accomplished in a number of ways. One of the ways that never results in creating a followership is plopping someone in front of the group and saying, “here is your leader.”
So in the next 9-10 posts, I will describe my thought process and the “followership-creation” model that resulted from it. This is not intended to be a scholarly treatise on the subject of leadership, though my knowledge of history lends plenty of examples that supports the model I am sharing here. So check back in each weekday over the next two weeks and read. I hope to create a followership among my readers!