With the third week coming to an end, and with the team having made our first rollover, it seems like an appropriate time to reflect on the roles of leaders and followers. As the CEO of the team, I feel a great deal of responsibility for my team’s performance, so I will have to work hard and ensure that we do well. However, I must also ask for a great deal from my team if we wish to succeed, and I hope they are willing. If I were to look back on my idea of what a leader was even a year ago, I would have thought it was more of a one way street, with all the work lying with the leader ensuring that the team performs well. But having been through this week of MGMT 300, I am now inclined to take the perspective of Kelly (1988) and see the leader-follower relationship as more of a two way street, with followers who “build their competence and focus their efforts for maximum impact.” My first impression of what the role of CEO in this class was someone who worked with each person on everything to make sure it was done right, but it is clear that this cannot be done and nor should it be. While we haven’t perfected this yet, this week it became obvious that we performed as a team best when each manager came prepared with the knowledge that was required to make our decisions as a team. What was then left for me to do was coordinate the knowledge and refine it so we had a clear image of what we wanted to accomplish and how we would accomplish that. Again, I need to work on my performance and so does my team, but it’s very early on and I’m confident we can work effectively.
This idea of the role of the CEO isn’t what I expected it to be but it is not only much more fun, it works much better than what I thought a CEO should do. It’s very possible that my understanding of what a CEO should do could change yet again, and I hope that it does. If I hope to be an effective leader and follower in the future, I must have much more than a one dimensional view of these roles.
Kelley, R. E. (1988). In Praise of Followers. Harvard Business Review, 66(6), 142-148.