LEADERSHIP - THE DIALECTIC BETWEEN LEADERS AND FOLLOWERS
Nov 6th 2019
Today's society is undergoing great transformations that inevitably affect the companies. In this context, it is necessary that both leaders and followers understand their role as transforming agents, trying to follow and respond promptly to the growing challenges imposed on them.
One question that should be made beforehand is: what in the world is the difference between a leader and a manager?
A debate of great interest that takes place in the leadership area concerns the leadership-management binomial. The importance of leadership in the management of organizations is such that many authors treat the words "leadership" and "management" synonymously. Outside of research circles, leadership is often assumed to be a more emotional process than management, given that leaders are charismatic and inspiring, risk-taking, dynamic and creative, know how to deal with change and are visionary and whose skills can be taught/learned; contrarily, managers are more rational, give more usage to their “head” than their “heart”, deal more with issues of efficiency, planning, procedures, control and regulations and whose skills cannot be taught/learned.
In the reality of organizations, managers must be able to assume leadership behaviours, that is, they must be strategic leaders.
Now, I know what you must be thinking: Ana, this is boring — why should I care about leadership? You should, because without leadership, all other business elements lie dormant.
What’s some of the roles expected from leaders, then?
1.Leaders help to establish the vision: while companies may have defined a clear vision of where they see themselves in the future, implementing it is the challenge itself. In this sense, an effective leader keeps reminding their employees about the companies’ values, so that everyone can effectively reach the desired goal.
2.Leaders foster positive attitudes: one of the roles expected is that, in a way, leaders keep track of their employees’ problems. In this sense, one’s problem may become everyone’s problem and it’s up to the leader to ‘transfer’ his/her positive attitude to the team.
3.Leaders inspire unity: it is expected from leaders to foster teamwork spirit and positive relationships between everyone. They know that without mutual respect and trust, all cooperation in the office disappears. As many employees spend most of their time at the office than at home, leaders should act to maintain a trustworthy and inspiring workplace.
4.Leaders embody the change they wish to see: if leaders wish to reflect particular values, they should demonstrate those values in their actions. They have a responsibility to demonstrate the companies’ beliefs and to reinforce behaviours that reflect such beliefs.
Leadership shifts and each leader influences the changing work culture — we’re all transforming agents. While often success is attributed to leaders, one must not forget that it is the followers who make a leader successful by following his leadership.
Albeit change is inevitable, all followers and leaders play a key role to make leadership successful.
Written by Ana Dias / Talent Manager at Cleverti