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Knobull Helps Team Members Choose To Be An Excellent Leader Or Follower
Recently, work has become much more informal and flexible, but there is no real sense in which leaders have been cast aside. Team members talk about wanting to be trusted to get on with working how and where they want to, but there does not seem to be so much emphasis on accountability and responsibility.
For all the discussion of leaders needing to show empathy and understanding for others who were often confused, fearful and overwhelmed by events, it is also necessary for them to set out some rules and expectations. Giving up command and control does not necessarily mean creating a free-for-all.
It is admittedly a confusing situation and one that might create focus for leaders to crave a return to simpler times. But, we live in complex times where information is no longer the preserve of the few and so the roles of leaders and followers must change.
A new captain asked a more senior pilot to sit in the plane's cockpit and act as an extra set of eyes as the plane navigated the busy taxi ways of a major city airport. He was still there when just after take-off the aircraft hit heavy turbulence.
The reaction of many in his position would have been to step in to try to bring the situation under control. He remained in his seat with hands resting in his lap! The reasons were knowing that the pilot could handle the situation because if he had had any doubts about that he would have had no business signing him off as a captain.
One can understand why, since aircraft crews change all the time and often meet just before take-off. It is vital that they can work effectively with each other and can expect their colleagues to be able to perform their roles.
At a time when leaders cannot be expected to have all the answers and should not pretend to, it is an approach well worth examining. This situation offers lessons for others in all sorts of businesses as well as in their personal lives. One needs to realize the importance of taking responsibility for your own life, career and growth and acknowledge how this creates more opportunity.
Bentley concluded, "Another is to be prepared to delegate tasks but to be wary of abdicating responsibility. Above all, though, it is vital to avoid confusing leading from the jumpseat with backseat driving. Doing this risks undermining trust — with potentially catastrophic results."