Three Leadership Axioms

This is our second in a series of posts from the Book Rapper issue Authentic. It’s derived from Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones’ book Why Should Anyone Be Led By You that discusses what it takes to be an authentic leader. Previously in this series: The Authentic Leader.

Traditional approaches tend to view leadership as qualities belonging to an individual. However, when we add the follower to the picture, the game changes. Here’s three key ways how leadership is different when we include the leader AND the led.

Leadership Axiom 1 - Relational1 Relational

You cannot be a leader without followers. Much of trait theory seems to ignore this. It’s a relationship. This it’s active, and requires constant re-creation.

Followers want feelings of excitement and personal significance, they want to feel part of something bigger. And, they look for leaders who are authentic because trust is crucial in any relationship.

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Leadership Axiom 2 - Situational2 Situational

What is required of the leader depends on the situation or context. For example, Churchill was a great leader during the war and not after.

Effective leaders tune into the organisational frequency. They have the ability to adjust and adapt at both the level of daily routine encounters and big strategic decisions. Different behaviours are required in different contexts.

The context is merely the inherited starting point. The leader then reframes and shapes this for the benefit of followers and to fulfil the purpose of the organisation.

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Leadership Axiom 3 - Everywhere3 Everywhere

The hierarchy of organisations has meant leadership has been overly concerned with the people at the top – the chosen few.

This blinds people to the true nature of leadership. It is not about titles or position. People make it to the top for various reasons.

Leadership throughout the organisational on a daily basis is badly needed.

COMMENT: What’s your experience of other leaders? Do they act based on these three leadership axioms? And, your own leadership?


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