Discussion about Leaders & Followers
On Friday 17th Oct. our course watched a video of a lone young man (leader) dancing and a second young man (first follower) joining him a few minutes later. Because of the first follower others "learned" and felt motivated to follow and joined in with time. At the end of the video the majority of people in the scene were dancing and a "movement" had been created.
The theories of leadership have undergone many changes during the past century. E.g. the "Great Men" theory (Thomas Carlyle, 1849) or the trait theory were ridiculed during the 1950s and 60s for being not applicable to different situations and scenarios. However, the modern trait theory revived the former concepts and Kirkpatrick and Locke (1996) claim that research shows following key traits a leader should have:
- Leadership motivation
- Honesty and integrity
- Cognitive ability (Intelligence)
- Knowledge of the business
Here are my two cents: I agree with all the above traits but most of all I agree with Honesty and integrity. In my opinion a person lacking integrity is not able to lead others, simply because the followers will never truely respect him/her. These kind of virtues are the base of any knowledge or skill you might develop because every leader is partly role model - partly teacher. I also think that strong principles will ultimately 'force' the person to lead if he/she wants to make a difference. Those principles are the inner fire that will come out at the right time to inspire others.
"First followers" might be courageous but Leaders are born.