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If I were to do a ratio of leader to follower on myself, I have always believed I am about 70/30. However, this paper has changed my frame of my mind. For this journal I am going to stray a little away from Daudelin. I will not state so much a problem, but I will ask question. Will this paper help me understand if I am a leader or a follower?

When it comes to introversion and extroversion I definitely fit in the former category. My past self has always entered projects or groups where I bring specific knowledge that is required, I am a master of my trade, and becoming a leader came very naturally. I just had to share my skill/knowledge. This paper has turned that around. Nobody in this course is a master of the simulation and everybody is going in blind, this could actually be stipulated as the problem. Reading Pearce & Manz, (2005) was interesting because I have always believed that leadership is very top down, prestigious and a ladder you had to climb, a notion that this article refutes and calls a “myth.” This is quite refreshing as I have a chance now to figure out where I fit in, and if a leader or follower in an organisation exists at all in the 21stCentury.

Mikes Bikes relates to the concepts of self and shared leadership (Pearce & Manz, 2005). Self-leadership relating to our individual roles, therefore “leading ourselves,” and shared leadership where there is mutual influence and full empowerment of each team member. Could this mean that we are all therefore ‘effective followers” (Kelley, 1988)? An ‘effective follower’ is someone who can self-manage, is committed to a team goal, is proactive in increasing their knowledge and they are brave and honest (Kelley, 1988). This approach relates to our team much more than top-down management. Will this be the case over the next six weeks, we are yet to find out. 

This week reflects a lot of my musings. Yes, we have a CEO, but we all have shared leadership where we are responsible together and the outcome depends on this unity. We also have to walk away from each meeting and find individual time to reflect, learn and improve, aspects relating to self-leadership. Regarding myself, I have to figure out where I fit into this dynamic, and this is a work in progress.  But I will be honest, I am relieved to learn that hierarchical leadership is a thing of the past. 

References 

Pearce, C., & Manz, C. (2005). The new silver bullets of leadership: The importance of self- and shared leadership in knowledge work. Management Department Faculty Publications. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/managementfacpub/72

Kelley, R. E. (1988). In praise of followers. Harvard Business Review, 66(6), 142–148

 

 

 

 

 

3 Comments

  1. Hi Marina Erakovic, this is indeed a lovely and thoughtful musing and I really do like the way you've brought a spirit of curiousity and questioning to the topic. You're also engaging with some theory around leadership in a way that opens up new ways of thinking about your experiences in teams and with leadership. So good for you.

    Before PhD (if  you didn't know, I'm a PhD student working as a GTA on this course), I worked in leadership development at an institute that took seriously the idea that, as you put it, hierarchical leadership is a thing of the past. It does take some getting used because this old idea of leadership is ingrained in us from a variety of different context, like politics, work, sport, and especially the media. There's one thing that I notice in your post above that I'd like to share with you to add some more grist for your mill. What I notice is that despite thinking about leadership as shared (etc) there's still a theme of binary oppositions to your thinking.  You begin by wondering what your ratio of leader:follower is and express this powerfully with your question: "Will this paper help me understand if I am a leader or a follower?". Even the idea of being an effective follower still implies that we can discern the difference between when we are leading and when we are following; and further, we are implored even within this frame to judge the quality and effectiveness of our followership.

    All of these points are interesting in their own right, but what I felt most intrigued by in your post is your sense of relief about the disappearance of hierarchical leadership. Why is that, do you think? Why does leadership matter to you? What drives you–or did drive you–to wonder about your 'ratio'?

    Overall though, if there was one thing I would recommend to strengthen this no doubt ongoing process of puzzling over leadership it would be this: you end by telling us that you need to continue to figure this dynamic out and that it will be a work in progress, but I would have loved to have seen you propose some things you might try along the way. The reason I reckon this is important is basically that leadership really is a complex phenomena since it inherently and inseparably involes a social interaction and the way in which that social interaction is understood (or constructed). This makes it a really hard thing to figure out through musing alone and so if you're going to make progress in this, you're going to need to try some stuff out and reflect on the results (and process). That is the one thing that would have really strengthened this reflection–a sense of what it you are going to try to do differently to see what happens if you really do leave hierarchical leadership in the past.

    Josh

  2. Hi Marina.

    I like how you used a question to base your journal off. It gives an interesting perspective on how this course is affecting you. I think when you are using your theory, having examples from what has happened during the simulation will help clarify what you have learnt. Like expand on what is being said, on say Kelley (1988), with an example can drive what you have learnt and give a clearer way to improve on for later throughout the semester. 

    Otherwise I do think this is a good learning journal.

  3. Hey Marina,

    I thought the way you constructed your learning journal by questioning the idea of leadership and being a follower was an effective way for you to really dig deep into the subject matter, rather than simply attempting to solve a problem. I've now found myself challenging my own ideas of what it means to be a leader and a follower, especially with Pearce and Manz ideas on self and shared leadership.

    As suggested by Josh, I think you could improve on your learning journal by setting ways you could try to test how effective you have been as a leader and/or a follower during the following week amongst your group.

    Overall, a solid effort!

    Nick