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HOW TO MANAGE YOUR LEADER
These days, leaders strive a lot to get better at their trade. They spend money and precious man-hour in trainings, seminars, self development, and even doctorate degrees. Some leaders improve their skills and in turn develop their followers in leadership art as a way of getting them to carry out the organization’s objectives successfully. On the other hand, many leaders develop themselves in order to reinforce their motives of perpetual superiority. The largest percentage of leaders in our present world are those who believe that all they require to get followers to accomplish the organization’s objectives is bossy authority. Considering the frustration that a follower could experience due to the maladjusted form of leadership in their endeavour, I am of the opinion that followers should proactively develop themselves in the art of followership. Once you acquire excellent followership skill, rising to and managing leadership position becomes an easy task.
I am writing this in response to Ada’s question in her latest letter, see the excerpt…
"I was so hurt in the course of the week by a leader I trust so much. He arrogates such honour to himself, as I think should be to God only. It hurt so much that I find it difficult to let go. This aggravates the fact that I have been badly hurt by men generally. I hate men with all passion. My only love is my only hate. I get to love it more when I hate men. I can’t let go of this, it’s hurting and unforgivable. I’m sharing with you so as to get it off my mind a bit…"
Dear Ada, you should know that, occupying an admirable or dignified position does not make someone a good leader, rather, it is the character and attitude content that make one a good leader. It is high time followers knew how to manage different types of leaders they may happen to work with. This is important because most times, followers have limited choices, in determining who their leader is or in changing where they work. It is also important because you can’t afford to sacrifice your personal fulfilment for the unacceptable disposition of a leader. You shouldn’t endure a perennial hurt for a transient ill.
LEADERSHIP STYLES AND HOW TO MANAGE THEM AS A GOOD FOLLOWER
AUTOCRATIC LEADERSHIP STYLE
This type of leaders like to exercise absolute control over their followers or subordinates. Opinion from their followers does not count even if it is for the good of the organization. They want laid down rules and regulations to be followed strictly and any attempt to modify it would be opposed. This leader often criticize, harass, bully, talk-down, reprimand, threaten, and shout at their subordinate. Their followers don’t like to advise them because they don’t like to be corrected.
Creative or team-spirited people detest following this kind of leaders, but those who like close supervision may not mind. However, if you happen to be in this kind of distasteful situation, there is a way you can manage him/her while it lasts. In order not to cross his/her path and fall prey of the consequent contempt, ensure you know in detail all that is required of you. Ask questions to understand the nitty-gritty of your tasks and be diligent at doing them. Cultivate the habit of documenting instructions from your leader and possibly get him or her to acknowledge it. Ensure you are polite but protect your vulnerability by keeping your dealing with him or her official. In the event that you’ll need to chip in some advice, try to do so on the occasions when moods are relaxed. However, in emergency situation when there are only splits of seconds before plane crash, do what you have do. Remember, no one escapes peril if you allow power-distance syndrome to degenerate.
LAISSEZ-FAIRE/DELEGATIVE LEADERSHIP STYLE
This is when a leader share his/her authority with subordinates and allow them to carry out their tasks without direct supervision. This may be a function of high level of skillfulness among the members of the team or as a result of the leader’s slackness. Followers who are skillful in their task would have no issue but the one who requires much supervision could constitute a weak link in the chain. Constant and never ending improvement is the key to fulfilment under this kind of leadership. Situation under a laissez-faire styled leader may seem to present you with the ‘opportunity’ to rest on your hoarse while floating on the aggregate corporate strength of the team, but in a matter of time, you’ll be found out.
PARTICIPATIVE/DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP STYLE
Although this leader takes the final decision, he/she allows followers to make adequate input. In fact, a democratic leader often solicit contribution from his/her subordinate. High level of satisfaction is attainable if you are following a participative styled leader, but you would have to be resourceful. Your resourcefulness determines your relevance to the group. If you are really relevant, you would often be consulted, preferred, and carried along in decision making process. You would be challenged to exert more influence and soon be inducted into leadership level. In another sense, if you are not as resourceful and ambitious as required, a democratic leader has what it takes to retain you in followership position for a long time.
TRANSACTIONAL LEADERSHIP STYLE
This may best be described as performance based style of leadership. The leader set goals for followers to meet and the latter are appraised, based on predetermined performance indicators. Subordinates who perform below expectation are punished, those who meet expectation are rewarded while bonuses are added to the reward for those who exceed expectation. To manage this kind of leader, you have to make meeting and exceeding expectation your priority. Your doing well in other aspects may not attract as much attention or appreciation as performance in key business inevitables.
Much as I suspect that Ada was probably having issues with an autocratic styled leader, I have taken time to highlight other major styles of leadership. This is to ensure that a large spectrum of readers find this write-up useful in divers kinds of followership situation. It is expedient for followers to learn and perfect the art of followership in other to achieve personal satisfaction and make the most of opportunistic lacuna in leader-follower relationships. It is important not to think of your leader as one of the men or women who hurt you in the past. Stop the prejudice, it will only prolong your hurt. Having a grudge against your leader clouds your outlook, makes you unhappy and impact negatively on your productivity. When you jettison prejudice, forgiving someone who offends you becomes easy, because you could easily find reasons to do so. Un-forgiveness is drinking poison and expecting someone else to die. Forgive your leader because of you, not because of them.
(Disclaimer: the character, Ada is a nick name, so as to protect the true identity of the sender of that story.)
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