Monday, October 31, 2005

Responding - Follow and Innovate?

Of course, a follower can't directly innovate but he/she certainly can support the process.

This is the fourth of six edges representing leadership practices, that together form the tetrahedral model, A Vision of Leadership (now Leadership for Collaboration and Innovation). After discussing the remaining edges in the next two posts, I will describe the faces of the completed tetrahedron - the outcomes, and then take a detailed look at its corners - the values that drive leadership.

When someone else is leading the innovative process and I am following, I participate by responding and making a contribution and collaborating to bring about the innovation. This may not sound like leadership, but it is. As a follower, if I am not responding and being part of the process I am unable to take the lead when that becomes necessary or optimal. I have this opportunity because in this model, as in the title of this blog, I identify the single actor in leadership as the leader-follower.

Should leading be important to me, responding is the 'price of admission.' If I choose to be unresponsive, contribution and collaboration cease and all that remains is structuring (the opposite edge and discussed immediately prior to this). My structuring and leading may be timely, necessary and welcome. However, so long as I am following and the collaboration and contribution are warranted, responding is the leadership practice that keeps innovation going and keeps me engaged.

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