My learning for this week was not so much an addition on new knowledge but what feels like a dawning realization. I feel as though I’m on the cusp of understanding something; so this journal is an attempt to talk through it. I am the CEO of my team, and my ‘problem’ is determining the function of a CEO when the team is comprised of highly effective followers (Kelley, 1988).
According to Kelly (1988, p. 144): “Effective followers share a number of essential qualities: 1. They manage themselves well. 2. They are committed to the organisation and to a purpose, principle or person outside of themselves. 3. They build the competence and focus their efforts for maximum impact. 4. They are courageous, honest, and credible.” I feel that all the other members of our team meet the criteria of effective followers. Kelly (1988) posits that an effective leader of effective followers should be not be seen as above them, but simply fulfilling a different function. I find this idea resonates with me and how I think I view leadership. It is also practically useful because, in this class and this team, the CEO is not placed above the other team members. Kelly (1988) then goes on to describe the how an effective leader needs to have the vision to set goals and strategies, the ability to achieve consensus and the skill to coordinate disparate effort and, most importantly the desire to lead.
So, from this analysis of Kelly’s work applied to my own experiences, I think I have a tentative hypothesis. My role in the team should be predominantly about strategy, coordinating and supporting the different functional areas of the team, and channeling the energy of highly effective followers. Translating this into practical actions, I think I should attempt to do the following. Develop a coherent strategy, with input from all the functional areas, that reflects our competitive goals. Making sure everyone feels able to tackle the issues arising in their functional area and coordinating their efforts in a way that helps us realise our strategic goals. Finally, focusing our collective attention on the important issues that need to be addressed.
Kelley, R. E. (1988). In praise of followers. Harvard Business Review, 66(6), 142--148