#Change11 #CCK12 Leadership in Networks Part 2

Here is a follow up of my post on Emotional Intelligence and Leadership.  I would like to create more posts on it, as it deserves more reflections on how those concepts are applied in different contexts, and how the theories evolve over different periods of time.

The authoritarian approach seems to be highly applicable in the early half of the 20th century, followed by the democratization and a more people centred supportive approach towards leading in a team setting in the 1970s till 2000s. The Theory X, Y and then Z seems to provide a good set of assumptions about human behavior, and thus leadership styles that are appropriate in matching those assumptions. There seems to be a trend, in that there are still a traditional belief that human are inherently behaving as depicted in Theory X, that is they dislike work, and are motivated only by incentives or money, and need to be disciplined and coerced to follow the directions laid out by the leaders.

I think there are still many questions and assumptions about leadership, especially in an online and network environment, where such leadership is different from that of organisational leadership significantly. For, instance, how would power and influence be exercised in networks, when there is no “formal authority” and “roles and responsibility” associated with “leaders” and “followers”? Also, would network leaders be able to “direct” others who are their fellow weak ties? I think evolutionary leadership could be interesting to observe and analyse under the existing era and climate, where formal and informal leadership meets in networks, and where leadership might be defined in very different ways when the power, status and influence are distributed, and that leaders might need to practice as servant leaders (under servant leadership, as shared  here and here) and negotiate in order to exercise their influence in the networks.

Here I have also reflected on leadership and the principles involved in it.

In this transformational versus servant leadership:

“The transformational leader’s focus is directed toward the organization, and his or her behavior builds follower commitment toward organizational objectives, while the servant leader’s  focus is on the followers, and the achievement of organizational objectives is a subordinate outcome.  The extent to which the leader is able to shift the primary focus of leadership from the organization to the follower is the distinguishing factor in classifying leaders as either transformational or servant leaders.”

Leadership is then an emergent practice where cooperation and collaboration are shared among the peers, leading the network forward in achieving the goals or vision, rather than a “leader’s” practice in the networks. This is where every one would become a leader, when practising his or her PLE/PLN in learning alone or with others.

6 thoughts on “#Change11 #CCK12 Leadership in Networks Part 2

  1. Pingback: #Change #Leadership in Networks Part 2 | Success Leadership | Scoop.it

  2. Hi Sui Fai John Mak, Most formal leaders are obstacles in the growth of their organization because of ego problems, in my experience. The choice of a new formal leader of Germany is a serious problem just because of this, I think.
    Does a network have a job for a formal or informal leader>
    regards Jaap

  3. I don’t know what to think about this. Does calling everyone a leader not weaken the whole concept of leadership to some degree? i.e. is there really such a thing as leadership, if everyone is a leader? Doesn’t a leader require followers? How can there be followers, if everyone is a leader?

  4. Hi Jaap,
    You have raised an important point. Leaders who have tendencies towards egotism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egotism could be a roadblock to the team or organisation. I don’t know about the formal leader that you mentioned though.
    @ Ken and Jaap,
    What about informal leaders, thought leaders, servant leaders? Here in the networks each of us could be playing such roles at different times, with different people, and networks. I don’t know if the word follower is appropriate in networks, as it seems to be too restrictive, and binding in its role and responsibility (if any). Would follower undermine the authority of leaders (formal leaders in particular)? Yes, this has happened throughout history. So, what could we learn from that?
    This is similar to your question: Does calling everyone a leader not weaken the whole concept of leadership to some degree? i.e. is there really such a thing as leadership, if everyone is a leader? In the network environment, I could see networkers “liberated” from the rules and binding from the formal structure, and so what works in formal leader and followers may not be applicable in network structure, though there may be some basic principles still applicable, especially in COPs. Take for example our networking here, I don’t see any formal leaders emerging from networks, unless they are working as formal leaders in institutions and are expecting their followers (colleagues) to follow. So, your question deserves more discourse, and I think my response is just one of the many views, in terms of leadership theories.
    A leader doesn’t always require a follower or followers in networks, as in a formal setting. He or she could just be a thought leader or a servant leader, supporting others, but not making any decision on or over others. So, the others who listen or act on those ideas may or may not be the leader’s followers. In this case, following an idea of those leaders would not necessarily be a follower. For instance, a lot of people follow the ideas of Confucius, or Jesus Christ, but not his followers. I am a follower of Jesus Christ, but not a follower of Confucius, mainly because of my religious belief. Also, I could be a follower of ideas by Lao Tze, but I don’t know Lao Tze himself, and may be he didn’t even exist as one person (that is he was just a fictitious person, with many writing done by others). So, does this apply to networking? More researches are needed to justify this leader-follower hypothesis, IMHO.
    So, we could all be learning leaders, leading our own learning (through thought leadership, or servant leadership, by serving others), and even kindergarten students could be leaders, leading their parents to become better parents, through their respect and support to their parents.
    John

  5. Pingback: #Change11 #CCK12 Leadership in Networks Part 3 | Learner Weblog

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