Leadership vs Followship

I’ve been thinking. Surprising, huh?

I read page after page every day of how to be a leader, how to direct and orchestrate the activities of others, how to turn chaos into creativity and ideas into innovative performance. I don’t read much about how to be a follower. There isn’t as much glamor in saying I’m a follower instead of I’m a leader.  Well, I’m different. I’m a self-admitted follower.  In fact, I’m an expert at followship because I pay attention to leadership.  I’ve never done this here before, but I read a book with a curious title ‘Hacking Leadership’ by Mike Myatt, and think people like me who are expert followers will like to read it too. Being a good follower takes just as much skill and ambition as being a leader. I should know; I’ve been a follower for many years and have a proven track record in Followship.  If you’re interested in what Hacking Leadership has to say, read my book review – then get your copy from Barnes & Noble or at Amazon.

I was introduced to Mike Myatt through reading his articles in Forbes. When I learned of his new book, Hacking Leadership, I was curious to learn how he would write an entire book on the topic of hacking and leadership. From page xi – the Prologue- I was hooked.  He told about a quote hanging in his office that I, myself had read and discarded as defeating. The quote was ‘It is what it is.’ Mike didn’t discard the quote as I did, he took action and reconfigured it to read ‘It is what it is … Until you take action.’ My thought? Let’s see how action works in the life of the man recognized as America’s Top CEO Coach. Mike gives us 11 major categories that begin with “Hacking the” and ends with ‘gap’. Between those words are gaps within gaps that need to be closed to be a successful, trusted, and productive leader.

Without editorializing, here are my favorite quotes from Mike Myatt’s design for Hacking Leadership.

  1. Hacking the Leadership Gap – Leadership is not about power and control, it’s about the betterment of people whom the leader serves. Leadership is improvement, inspiring positive change, and challenging conventional thinking. The purpose of leadership is to unlock the potential of others so they can shine and unlock the potential of countless more.
  2. Hacking the Purpose Gap – The best leaders understand the importance of transforming personal values into a greater sense of purpose. Leadership is pursuit – of excellence, of what if, of what’s next, of change, of value – the pursuit of excellence.
  3. Hacking the Future Gap – To hack the future, you must have clear perspective on the past; must understand how to navigate the present.
  4. Hacking the Mediocrity Gap – Leadership exists to disrupt mediocrity. Stable leaders pay attention to the four pillars of stability: True North – strong convictions and principles / Play how you practice – train, develop, keep learning for a lifetime / Lead with compassion – empathetic / Freedom to Fail – Make it safe for people to fail. Reward for right behavior, not punished for them.
  5. Hacking the Culture Gap – Diversity is finding people who share your vision, but bring a different set of relevant professional and life experiences to the organization. Smart leaders do business based on doing the right things, rather than doing them right; promote based on the character and contribution of the individual.
  6. Hacking the Talent Gap – Well, maybe a little editorializing here. This powerful chapter sold the book to me. – Leaders don’t put people in boxes; they free then from boxes. True leadership is about helping people reach places they didn’t know they could go. Within this major gap ‘Talent Gap’ Mike discusses the closing of these other gaps:  Trust, Loyalty, Talent, Hiring, Definition, Quality, Consensus, Fit, Pressure, Turnover – Buy the book for Chapter 6, everything else is a bonus.
  7. Hacking the Knowledge Gap – Sometimes you must ‘unlearn’, Best leaders constantly seek out and engage those who challenge their thinking. They are curious, inquisitive, with insatiable appetites for learning.
  8. Hacking the Innovation Gap – Big difference between ideas and innovation. Ideas are ethereal. The value is proven when ideas are executed.  Chapter 8 lists the 6 step process to obtaining value from ideas. Have you heard of SMART? Find it in Chapter 8 Hacking the Innovation Gap.
  9. Hacking the Expectation Gap – The author says this is the shortest chapter in the book but the most important. To be a trusted leader, learn to align expectations, commitments, and accountability.
  10. Hacking the Complexity Gap –Productivity has an enemy; it’s complexity. Mike suggests simplifying every process, initiative, and offering. Great companies thrive in the absence of complexity. Simplicity is critical to success.
  11. Hacking the Failure Gap – Failure is the best experiential learning tool available. Mike says, “Show me someone who fears nothing and I’ll show you someone who lacks judgment.”  He goes on to share that failing is the opportunity to grow, develop, stretch and push.

If you’re a leader, or if you’re a follower of a leader, this book is a valuable asset to your library and a resource to learn from throughout the year. Mikes closing statement “I wish you the best of luck on your leadership journey.”

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