Who are you?
In a word leadership is influence. What’s the best metaphor?
Is leadership wind beneath a person’s wings or wind in the sails?
Is leadership herding from behind or leading in front like shepherds in the East?
How much of leadership style is determined by circumstances?
Answering these questions sets direction for a leader’s life.
97% of people think that they are an above average leader. While statistically “a little” flawed, they might be right! We can all be leaders when working within our strengths.
Great questions Dan. To some extent I think a leader is wind beneath a person’s wings. But then I have also come to realise that most people are not keen to have their superiors constantly checking their progress. They prefer the leader to be the shepherd in the East, heading the way. As long they are given a map to follow, they are happy. But that does not mean that they do not expect input from the shepherd. Only when they seem to be steering away from the course will they reach for the leader. What is your take on this?
Contrary to Minzberg’s latest assertion, I strongly feel the world lacking in the leadership matra as opposed to managerial competence. According to HBR list of the world’s top business CEOs, majority do not have MBAs !.
Influence is a powerful word to describe leadership. But, as we have often witnessed, influence can be achieved through positional power. What sort of impact and energy can a leader expect to unleash upon his/her followers using coercion and fear. I have personally seen how it works and what it does.
For me, the test of leadership influence lies in invoking WILLINGNESS in followers. Leadership is about followership. Like the Piper, the success of the leadership agenda depends upon this single yet difficult human factor.
The world has become so diverse, complex, fluid, confused, myopic and fragmented that it needs lots of introspection and clarity in defining what success and development means in the global context. In hindsight, how has the Outsourcing strategy in business impacted the leadership model.
Leadership cannot operate on a one way style. Shifting situations and circumstances demands flexibility in tweaking and adjusting the outdated roadmap, without losing sight of the final destination. The leader’s job is to inspire willingness in the followers to the collective spirit and goal. Where s/he is positioned, (front or back) is irrelevant. What is importantr is that the leader is “seen” until the willingness is empowered within.
The answer to “who you are”, as a leader, rests with your followers. Ask them. Why do you think we have elections every 5 years. But, that’s not how it works in most business environments.
I have often wondered why leaders shy away from embracing 360 feedback, as a bold step to their leadership measurement and development?. How many CEOs are willing to accomodate 360 into their corporate culture. Imagine, a CEO having his performance results published on the company’s intranet for all to reveiw and feedback. Now, that requires leading from the front.
My two cents.
I am greatly inspired by the comments of Yuvarajah…Kudos !!
But as leader if we are only seeking for followers, the project becomes one sided barring for innovativeness and reasoning. The followers must bring in a spur, an excitement for the goal, an argument in the interest of the project and possibly the leader should give a restorative and analytical solution… No doubt a leadership influence plays a greater role, building lthe influence is not a joke..
Hope you are enjoying Colorado…
To your list of questions… For the most part, there is no one answer. Circumstances sometime dictate who is the leader; leaders sometime create the circumstance. Should you lead from the front? Well, you can’t push a rope. But at the same time, you need to be smart enough to recognize when your team has build up enough momentum that you can step out of the way and provide guidance from the back. Wind beneath wings or wind in sail? Both are wind, both are creating movement, movement creates change. On the other hand, group energy could be seen as wind, with leadership seen as the method of harnessing the energy and translating it into momentum and direction…
Could probably riff on this theme all day! I’ll spare you though, you’ve a graduation to go to after all…
Thanks, once again, for provoking thought.
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You’ve done it once again! Amazing post.
Incredibly interesting post. Honestly..