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.
“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.