Followership is the new Leadership | Guest blog
My 2-year-old daughter holds my hand as I lead the way to help her cross the street. But she takes the lead at home, reciting nursery rhymes I have no clue about.
Our junior forklift operator is great at football, plays midfield and captains our corporate football team. Our CEO is not that great at football, but makes a decent defender. They are both passionate about football – it’s great to see how the forklift operator drives performance in the team, with the occasional on-field swearing at the CEO – all in great spirit! Our CEO is back at work the next day, overseeing operations while ensuring the forklift operator maintains standard safety procedures – business as usual.
Leaders manage more paradoxes than everyone else – but are leaders mindful and aware of this at all times? True leaders always are.
One of those great paradoxes is followership – the ability to follow; a leader is not necessarily the leader every time.
We are currently going through a challenging business environment – with leaders faced with pressing questions of performance and delivery.
In one of the greatest corporate scandals of recent times, the leader was made aware of the dangers ahead by a team member, but chose to ignore them – the leader’s urge to lead got the better of him.
True leadership requires true followership – breaking down hierarchy, listening to and working with inputs from rank and file.
True leaders straddle the world of leadership and followership with great acumen.
In order to follow, leaders must listen, inquire, unlearn and relearn to remain relevant and competitive in the ever changing business landscape.
So now if you’ll excuse me, I have some nursery rhymes to relearn.
About the author:
Ranjan Mathew is Director of Human Resources at Viola Communications LLC, United Arab Emirates
He is passionate about creating high-performing work environments for employees to thrive in. Ranjan specializes in Leadership Development, Employee Engagement and Performance Management.
With a degree in Electronics Engineering and a PGDBA from XIME, Ranjan is based in Dubai, where he lives with his wife and daughter.