Thursday, November 20, 2014

Leadership vs. Followship

Digital leaders have flexibility, creativity, and adaptability; and good followers are not just a yes man, or pragmatist, but also positive and creative.

Digital is the age of people, either being customer-centric or unleashing talent’s potential, the digital dynamic is all about adaptability, flexibility, and growth. Leaders no longer only refer to the one who has a formal title or in an authoritative position, but the one with advanced digital mindset, who can make positive influence into the broader business or social environment; and due to the digital abundance of information flow, people may not always come to leaders for getting the right answers, but good leaders frame the right questions, amplify signal from noise, solve problems large or small via creativity; and follow the heart or listen and learn from others all the time.

The frame for leadership goes towards a meta-system. The frame for leadership goes beyond the usual look on the organization towards a Meta system including the stakeholders and the organization divided into 3 sub-systems, 
-a leadership system, 
-a culture system and 
-a transaction system - called production system 

No organization succeeds without both leaders and followers, and we need to value both. 
Businesses do this will understand and appreciate both leaders and followers. They will encourage and train followers to express their views and to lead when that is called for, and will encourage leaders toward participate leadership styles where they listen and learn from others as well as lead. Such a person will also work toward an organizational culture of learning, collaborating, and adapting, that rewards participation and even active dissent, and where followers sometimes lead and leaders follow, depending on the situation.

Digital leadership shall cultivate flexibility, creativity, and adaptability. Personally, cultivate the ability, willingness, and knowledge to lead, to follow, and to add value. Know, and be prepared to, suggest and even to oppose strongly -- but, in the words of the song, "know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away, know when to run".  In essence, who is a leader & what is the leadership: creates a climate of inclusion. Seeks and encourages diversity of opinions. Utilizes culture and diversity to leverage successful business strategies. Provides a workplace free of bias and fair to everyone. Support others in taking responsible risks. Seeks to understand other’s viewpoints, then be understood. Creates and encourages an organizational culture that is identifiable to others.

"Authoritative to Appreciative Inquiry" as to what a leader and follower are from the perspective of role, responsibilities and relationship. The prime questions for leadership to take care of are strategic goals. These may be seen from different perspectives – among others a harmony or a conflict perspective. It is due to the fact that each business unit has a fundamental mindset. We will look at the organization from a harmony perspective, which means, that the organization has to be seen in as a system of stakeholders behaving in such a way they maintain a kind of equilibrium. There are times to lead and times to follow ~ ultimately, the right decision is whichever is in the best interest of the organization and its objectives at that point in time.  

Effective leaders develop other leaders. Leadership is everywhere, but what’s the conventional leadership mindset, and what’s the digital leadership mindset? The leaders or managers in authority positions shall develop a mindset that leadership can be displayed from those who follow them and it is their job to provide opportunities for leaders at all levels to shine. They ensure their followers will be able to demonstrate leadership competence at varying opportunities.  

Respect the fellowship as well. With respect to "followers", according to Wikipedia's definition, those who need leaders include Sheep, Yes-People, Pragmatics. Some people are content executing specific activities or transactional tasks and these individuals are critical to the success of every organization. However, with digital complexity, the more complex the organizations’ structures, the greater variation in the experience of the members. Complex organizations are in need for more educated and independent individuals that not just follow the specified instructions but are capable of doing their jobs on their own, more creatively or take extra miles.

Ideally, a true balance can be found for both parties to succeed. Leaders continue to learn the new knowledge from others, listen to diverse viewpoints, while good followers are not just a yes man or pragmatist, but also positive and creative, when leadership is needed, they can be qualified to step up to provide it.


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