LEADERSHIP IN MANAGEMENT: Followership

FollowershipAn important aspect affecting leadership effectiveness is the reciprocal connection between employer and employee. Every individual possesses a unique set of skills and intellectual, emotional, and personality characteristics. Leaders, therefore, should be wise to consider these interpersonal differences when soliciting employee buy-in capital. The employer-employee relationship has, as a result of the current economic conditions, evolved to a more short-term, result oriented contract. The prospect of dwindling long term job security has prompted individuals to adopt more self-reliant behavior and become more engaged in their personal career development. Managers, on the other hand, are geared to hone in on employee performance from both a qualitative and quantitative perspective (De Meuse & Tornow, 1993).

A study conducted by the Center of Creative Leadership concludes that the key competencies employers target today have changed significantly as well (Petrie, 2011). The traits of “technical mastery, self-motivation and discipline, confidence, effective communication, and resourcefulness” were the prevailing qualities two decades ago, but have been updated to include the competencies of “adaptability, effective communication, self-awareness, learning agility, multicultural awareness, self-motivation and discipline” in today’s work environment (Pace, 2012, p. 44). Both the employee perspective and the changing market demands have significantly altered the employee-employer relationship, and are important variables to consider in weighing the effectiveness of a leadership style. Given the complexity of the employee-employer interactions in the modern workplace, leaders must possess a set of personal and social competencies in order for their employees to perform at maximum levels. Personal competence is characterized by self-awareness, confidence, self-regulation, conscientiousness, and motivation. Social competence consists of empathy and social skills such as communication and conflict management (Northoouse, 2007).

The other side of this coin represents the needs of the employees. Deming’s view of the organization as a “system” is thought to permeate all levels of the organization. Deming’s last of the four parts to his system of knowledge deals with motivation where he suggests that when one contributes to an effective system, a sense of joy, satisfaction and pride occurs within the individual (Valencia, 2008).