Fri 17 Apr 2009
I am publishing this long lost article from the unpublished archive of this blog. The bulk of my work these days revolves around sustainability and corporate responsibility consulting. Interestingly, a large part of the leadership required to implement sustainability, transparency, and corporate responsibility requires – Followership. ~Matthew Rochte
Followership - the missing leadership component.
Leadership is not about leadership. Leadership books, business school, and coach training always talk about the leadership skills, the attitudes, and the motivations to get people to do things. They call this leadership.
These â€œleadership skillsâ€ are good things that leaders need to know.
However, having successfully run a triple-bottom-line manufacturing firm for 7 years as owner and coach and having been in leadership positions since age 11, I have discovered an interesting phenomenon about leadership – something we don’t talk about in leadership books nor in coach training and certainly not in business school, but we all are aware of on some level. Leadership, ultimately isn’t about leadership.
Leadership is about Followership.
Who is going to follow you and why?
This missing piece ultimately will determine a leaderâ€™s success and continued success. We have become myopic in our dissecting of leadership that we have missed the whole point of leadership. We have focused on the content and the image of leadership rather than the substance. So instead of asking âWhat makes a good leader? lets be coach-like and turn this question 90 degrees and ask – Who do people want to follow? or Who would you follow?
Think about it.
Who do we most admire and want to be around?
Who do we want to or are willing to follow?
We want to follow people of integrity and people in alignment. We all know when people are out of alignment. Do we want to follow them? We have twisted our understanding of integrity to mean an image rather than its
core substance. And our leadership training programs tend to mold the “leader” in a way to attract the most number of people rather than alignment of the leader with themselves and the community. These programs therefore create leaders who are attractive but lack integrity, because they lack alignment. They lead for a while, because they look right, but eventually we followers start to see inconsistencies, misalignments, and lack of integrity. We become disenchanted, uneasy and stop following them.
We stop following them because of a breakdown and/or exposure of the misalignment and lack of integrity within the individual..
So now it is time to look at what we mean by integrity.
Integrity is a matter of alignment.
Integrity is an alignment between ones actions, words, and thoughts.
Being in alignment with one’s being, saying, and doing.
In authentic leadership there is integration and consistent alignment with who you are, what you say, and what you do as a leader. An authentic leader’s actions are consistently aligned with who they are, what they say, and what they believe.
This alignment ultimately makes up who you are. People see it, people know it, people sense it. Because it is real. When all these elements are in alignment you are a leader, a natural leader, an authentic leader, and a magnet for followers.
Some Questions To Ponder:
What do you believe? What Thoughts guide you?
Are you true to yourself? Do you betray yourself?
Do you say what needs to be said or do you say what is safe?
Do your actions/ behaviors align with who you are?
Does what you do reflect who YOU are?
What kind of leader do you want to be?
Author: Matthew Rochte
Article originally published in 2004 in Corvus Enterprises Connected Coach