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About leadership

Blog Post

Written by John Berry on 26th March 2020. Revised 10th November 2020.

3 min read

Where leaders and followers work remotely, communicating via telephone, email and online meeting applications, leadership will be tested.

It's useful therefore to re-visit the definition of leadership and re-learn how to do it. Here's a 4-minute video to help you do just that.

Leadership is where one person, the leader, persuades another person, the follower, to accept the leader’s point of view.

One person persuades another. And the follower being persuaded is then motivated to take some action or other because the action is somehow in line with their extrinsic or intrinsic needs. It’s in line with something they will benefit from or it’s in line with their personal values, beliefs and goals.

There are three requirements to make leadership work.

First, the leader, as persuader, must have a point of view. If there’s nothing to be done, nothing to be achieved, then there’s no leadership. Leadership involves future action by the follower that is desired by the leader. The leader must have an initiative, a project or the like that he or she wants the follower to participate in that the leader clearly articulates.

Second, the follower, as the person being persuaded, must be minded to accept that point of view. For that, the leader must have a suitable relationship with the follower. Leadership can’t work if there’s no relationship. Relationships take time to build, often centring on exchange to build trust. Trust is key in remote working scenarios. And since the leadership will inevitably involve action in the future, the relationship must have some future meaning.

Third, the leader must select an appropriate method of persuasion. It’s here that many leadership gurus focus – saying things like ‘you must be charismatic’, ‘you must be authentic’. I don’t have time in this short presentation to go into detail here. But the leader must focus on practical things that he or she can do to persuade – like illuminating the path towards the follower’s now-accepted goal and promising some share of the glory once the goal is reached.

So, there are three elements to leadership. Leaders must have a point of view that they’d like their followers to accept. There must be an existing relationship between leader and follower that also has future meaning. And the leader must focus on practical action that he or she can take that will do that persuading.

If you'd like to discuss how to lead in a remote working scenario, call us.