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I just spent sometime with the Blanchard Leadership podcast on the book. Looking forward to spending time here on freethinking leader.org. Reconnecting to a commitment to life long leadership learning. The more I listen and read the more I feel compelled to fight “sameness” and help get the right person on the right seat on the right team bus if that make sense.
How do leaders know they have followers and a ‘Span of CARE’ and not managers who think there ‘span of control’ has to do as told?
This is a tremendous book. Thank you so much Marcus and Ashley for having the courage, faith and vision to bring these much needed insights to the world of work. For all of us working with managers, leaders and HR these most definitely are the right hard things to work on and continue building momentum. Thanks again to you both. Great job!
Love the book and the way it unpicks the illusions of the intersubjective experience we call work. On leadership, without wishing to be a semantic pedant, I wonder if followership is the right term. In my world at least (and David Marquet’s world), a lead-lead model would seem to offer a stronger basis of meaning with the kind of performance outcomes people and organisations would want. For example, Shackleton’s supposed advert for a team to follow him (see http://tiny.cc/uu119y) is often quoted to illustrate the idea of followership. Similarly, Derek Sivers at TED, offers up the idea of how followership is created (see http://tiny.cc/0x119y). I don’t think we follow. I think we become willing to collaborate based on shared vision, values and beliefs. We remain in the process of collaboration until there is a reason to exit the process (e.g. task / objective is complete or there is a divergence in our view of the vision, our values and beliefs). Followership suggests passivity, a degree of learned helplessness (e.g. we follow and are told what to do and look to a leader to tell us what to do instead of digging into our strengths and amplifying) and a degree of subordination (e.g. I, the leader empower you the followers) where my power – whatever that is – is ‘loaned out’ and then taken back.
Forgive the stream of consciousness 🙂 Thoughts?
Loved this last chapter, what a compelling narrative! I have listened to the audiobook and I was moved by what I heard! Thank you for this extraordinary experience.
Wow…this is truly inspghtful
Wow…this is truly insightful.
In the realm of identify and focus on your strengths…where do you sit with self awareness around your pitfalls, the tendencies you have that are not your strengths, your ‘weaknesses’. If I focus all the time on my strengths but am not aware of my pitfalls or things to be wary of…I can trip and fall
Marcus and Ashley you are really thinking out of the box and breaking open the leadership theories! Loved the clear and practical nutshell/outcome of your analysis on Lie 9.
I’m looking forward to reading your book.
YES! Not sure how but we HAVE to build a workplace that accepts, understands and benefits from people’s uniqueness.
Exactly. That’s the goal of bringing together all the freethinking leaders here–so that we can take the next step together!
I find it interesting that a large part of the discussion is on the followers and why they follow, as a sign of a leader. There was a great Ted talk by Derek Sivers years ago on how to start a movement and he noted that embracing the first follower was key. It is the first follower that helps others know how to follow, so in a way, they are a leader as well, and in some ways, the most important leader as the person who gets the credit for being first, would still be a funny dancing guy, without the leader who followed him. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbaemWIljeQ
Brooks–I’ve always loved that clip!
Oh and yes the book has arrived!
It is always the acceptance that perfection does not exist which makes us strive more towards achieving it! It is the beginning of a new journey of discovery for many of us whose thoughts have been clarified by this level of critical thinking about work and leadership. I thank you, Marcus and Ashley, for your insights which indeed may lead us to improved performance and a greater understanding of how human work can deliver deeper personal gratification.
“The best leaders don’t look away from it, they look through it…” Powerful. It’s not about knowing what’s on the other side, it’s about being able to see the other side, and be willing to get “there,” wherever / whenever it might be. “Spikiness” is a difficult term for me, but the terms you use to describe / define it gets me there, especially the “seeing around corners” pieces. Again, it’s less about knowing for sure what’s around that corner, than what may well be, and a) how we might get there, together, and b) what we ought to be ready to do / encounter / think / embrace when we’ve cleared the curve — and the consistent / predictable element of strong leaders — all this reminds me why I’ve been a passionate follower of y’all’s compelling leadership for more than 20 years now… Thanks for another superb entry in this series…
Thank you thank you thank you for starting this journey to bring us into the ‘light’ of where I think we may need to be headed. What constantly pops up in my day to day thinking, is authenticity. How do I show up every day as me? How do I help other people show up every day as them? Authentically. Without armour. Without fear of judgement. As an emotional intelligence coach I focus the majority of time asking questions related to ‘what lessons did you learn that you need to unlearn so that your beliefs about yourself and about other people change and will allow you to show up as exactly who you are?’ And this question is incredibly difficult for people to answer right out of the gates. There is a lot of reflection and soul searching and asking questions that allow them to think differently about their life, their beliefs, their values, their behaviours. It’s inspiring and beautiful!
It seems that leadership is not enough. Charismatic leadership perhaps? Inspiring leadership?
Good discussion. I never thought leadership is a thing, leadership has no age, no specific skills or traits, and definitely no playbook on how to get better. I think leading in the sense we use it is about getting the best out of people towards a common mission. I personally follow people who are passionate and inspiring, genuine and true to their mission, and obviously the mission must be meaningful to me… so follow-ship to me is first personal (about me and what I believe) but also about the person (passion, drive and honesty)… then again, I might be totally wrong, but that’s what keeps me going, or makes me walk away sometimes.
Still chuckling at “leadershipy things”
How many “leaders” actually have followers? Gary touches on it below, remove the trappings of authority and power and who would actually follow them? And how many people in an organisation are actually following the senior leadership? Or are they either just doing what their immediate managers ask or quietly getting on with what they think they should be doing? Sometimes people with positions of authority will give us information that makes us feel included or sounds sensible or even authoritative and we may feel that they know what they are talking about but would we follow them unquestionably? I think that is more a reflection on follower than the leader and whether we believe and trust the leader because they have told us something that aligns to our values and who we think we are as a person. How many times have you heard someone saying “they are just telling us what they think we want to hear”? If there is apparent authenticity in the leader and they are saying or doing things that align with the potential followers values then people will be inspired to follow them. If not then they are more likely to be a passive follower waiting for the next leader to turn up.
Jane–completely agree. And, as we try to describe in the truth shortly, what the followers find to hook on to in the leader is actually quite specific!
As a young Army lieutenant I once had a conversation with my company commander regarding a platoon sergeant whom lacked the respect of his troops. My company commander asked me the following question. If he took off the rank, would people still follow him? This question removed the authority by position aspect and allowed me to focus on the traits of the person that would draw one to follow.
I may be entirely off track here but it is my belief that we choose to follow people who inspire us to become more than we are, or people that bring out value in us. I want to follow someone who will build me up as opposed to knocking me down. The needs may change over time. It also sounds a bit like I am looking to follow the “Servant” leader. It does not necessarily explain following people to commiserate in their misery which I struggle to connect with my theory of following people who make us better. Nor does it explain leadership by intimidation, which in my opinion is very limited in its effectiveness. So I am curious where this one will lead. Looking forward to learning more on April 10.
Most of the managers I’ve been exposed to in my life were promoted because they were good at their job, and it’s assumed that you can take someone like that and teach them leadership qualities. It seems like what we should be doing is promoting people based on their leadership abilities, and teaching them the other skills they need for the specific role they fill.
Joe–or even, their leadership *appetite*–because those that are deeply interested in it tend to learn fast!
In simple terms: leaders are the ones who have followers. Hard to define the “thing” that sums up what a leader is; hard to bottle that. I can say this, in my personal experience in the military and on the battlefield my definition of a leader can be summed up this way (and I’ve said this to my former battalion commander): “If you were storming the gates of hell with water pistols, I’d be there right beside you.” To me, when you can inspire people to that level…. you’re a leader in my book!
When I consider leaders I’ve been willing to follow, they share some common threads which I believe are red 🙂
Now we’re talking!
If the one common thread of a leader is defined by having followers, then not only is leadership not a thing (list of attributes) but is also not a position (Manager, Team Leader). High functioning teams often have multiple leaders. When someone on a team is leveraging their strengths on behalf of the teams mission, then often the team members will follow their trusted ‘leader’ at that time. Then at another point in time you will find another team member step up into leadership when their particular strengths and talents are needed. When each team member understands their strengths and where they can be trusted to deliver toward the teams mission, then they and the team also know where they can build momentum to lead. Great stuff Marcus and Ashley!
That assumes that the definition of a leader is inspiring people to follow. What if the leader has a vision that people don’t see. He won’t have followers until they see what he/she creates, or where he/she achieved. The person does not change from the time people did not follow until the time they did follow. The discussion should also question if we assume leadership equals followers? If the `leader` did not change from when people didn’t follow them until the people did follow them, how did they suddenly become a leader? What if the people stop following them, are they now no longer a leader?
Wow! Just wow! You just rocked my world, but you are absolutely right that those I choose to follow don’t all have the same attributes (from “the” list). A leader is someone who has followers. Love it! Thanks.
“Flavour of the month” is what came to mind when listing off the types of leadership (servant, transformational, level 5, etc. The type of leaders we are defining today serves a purpose to a symptom. We need more ‘SERVANT’ leaders because millennials in the workplace want someone like their parent who will do everything in their power to help them get from A to B. It’s brilliant to indicate that a leader is someone who has followers. So simple. And follower-ship may have consistencies that turn into characteristics of a leader. On athletic teams, very often the leader is chosen by the team mates – who do they want to follow. That’s your captain. Very cool.
With social media we can now analyze the followers. Maybe great leaders are experts in marketing
Passion + Compassion = real leaders
Ah yes, that magical list of qualities of leadership, it makes perfect sense that it’s not ‘a thing’. Whenever I think of my own leaders I follow, yes they have a few or most of the qualities, but the ones they’re lacking don’t make me want to follow them more if they improved upon them.
Drawing from the Feedback Fallacy, wouldn’t it be wonderful if a leader’s leader would point out moments of excellence in leadership? In my personal experience, I haven’t seen much of that. Feedback to leaders from their leaders is typically goal related – did you hit the project milestones or not? It’s then up to the leader to figure out how to motivate his or her team to achieve the goals. Let’s encourage our up-line leaders to recognize moments of excellence in leadership of the people that report to them. I’m inspired to do more that in my own work. Thank you!
I think an important question to ask ourselves is “why are we trying to be better leaders? What are we trying to accomplish?” Because we would not have a $50B industry in the US if we weren’t trying to be better leaders. We wouldn’t be part of this coalition. I don’t know if that’s going to be part of the truth, but its a question I ask myself every time I think of putting myself out there, out of my comfort zone. What makes it worth the effort and the risk?
What a wonderful comment on Leadership. Defining what is the best leadership is such a difficult task as the great leaders different forms and shapes – from Gandhi from Lincoln, from Kennedy to Churchill and from Steve Jobs to Jack Ma. Defining an ideal leader is to say there is only one way of success. Your 9th lie brings me to closer to how God is defined in Hindu text- ‘neti, neti’ in Sanskrit. Which roughly translated means “neither this, nor that”. Different situations, times, circumstances, require different way to handle them and there is no one universal way to tackle myriad of problems of situations.
In a way, this lie relates to lies number 4 and 6, where people are rounded and can be rated. That amounts to saying that an ideal leadership profile is a mould where people have to be fitted and shaped to be called an ‘ideal leader’.