This month marks a remarkable time in all of our lives. It doesn’t matter where you live, how you were raised, or which side of any current news-story you are on, these are remarkable times!
It seems that we have opened this decade with a torrent of “worst-that-could-happen” news. In fact, the USA political, social, and economic issues seem to pale in comparison to the bigger, global picture.
Major Recent Happenings
Just take a look at the global events that have recently unfolded to get perspective:
- Multiple courageous uprisings from strong dictatorships in an effort to free civilians of oppression and injustice
- Continued force and oppression from other strong dictatorships to bury the uprisings
- Multiple natural disasters creating several “worst-that-could-happen” moments. Then only to be followed by more “worst-that-could-happen” fallout from those disasters
Right now, the heartbreaking reality is, in fact, truly heartbreaking in its reality.
The Best in Humanity
Still, and amidst it all, we are bearing witness to some of the strongest natural characteristics in human beings. Some of it is related to nature—all animals display some level of resilience, adaptability, courage, and forward thinking.
After all, that is Darwinism at its best, isn’t it?
Sure, but you cannot deny that there is something very human coming through in all the recent calamity: a fervent release of hope, community, leadership, and most importantly followership.
On Leading & Following
This is by far one of the most exceptional times for leaders. It is a time to easily measure the power of a leader on a global stage. Just turn on the news and gauge the effectiveness of any leader by seeing their acts of leadership in comparison to the acts of the followership.
In a remarkable way, these acts of “New Followership” actually define leadership.
“New Followership” this isn’t a new phrase. “New Followership” has been around for a while, though it’s just starting to take shape in a way that the every-day person can appreciate (me included). In fact, I had completely forgotten about the mid-90’s and early 2000’s focus on this until recently when I saw a former colleague who asked this question,
“Christa, in your opinion and with your experience, it seems like the world just needs new leadership, isn’t that true?”
Without even thinking, I said, “No.”
It was in one of my not-often-used tones when I feel so strongly against something there simply isn’t a softer way to respond. In fact, I am surprised at how quickly I turned down this notion that LEADERSHIP could be a lynchpin against the current heartbreaking realities around the world.
With inner dialog fully engaged, I mentally asked myself: Christa, where are you going with this?
I gave myself a few moments to collect my thoughts, and I went with this explanation:
“What the world needs the most now is New Followership.”
You see, “followership” is the single most powerful and critical elements of leadership.
I know that sounds very Yogi Berra of me, but many people still don’t realize how important followership is. In fact, if you ask anyone about this, they will likely view followership as a form of submission, underestimated because it (by definition) pertains to those who follow someone.
However, it’s easy to at least start seeing followership for what it is:
A term that describes how a mass of people can impact decisions about leadership and direction.
For me, “New Followership” takes it a step further. It also describes the sense that followers can become the real leader:
- When the sum of the parts become bigger than the single person
- When a group provides the very leadership that a singular person cannot deliver
- When the collective followership becomes the de facto leader, even if for a short transitional time
- When amassed toward a common, strong, and compelling vision fueled by hope and taken on because of despair, the strength of many can overthrow the persona of one.
This is what we are seeing today in the corners of massive governmental, societal, and social change.
Even in Japan, we are seeing that the strength of the leaders and the confidence in their abilities is largely demonstrated through their followership. Many would say that Japan’s sense of followership has more societal weight than leadership—we see that now, don’t we?
No looting, no chaos, no requirement from the leaders to enforce community standards and respectful behavior in the face of desperation…
Now THAT is “New Followership!”
What seems more powerful right now in times of despair? Leadership or Followership? How does this relate to previous revolutions, changes, coups, and natural disasters? Should leaders use today’s news as examples to learn and live more strongly aligned to the importance of Followership?
Image Sources: mychinaconnection.com