Who wants to discuss the tired old question “What makes a great leader” for ten billionth time? Nobody! Instead, let’s talk about followers. We are all followers in some sense, why do followers follow?
French and Raven claimed power comes from (and therefore we follow because of) five sources:
Reward Power- The person I follow has the power to provide me with the money, praise, acknowledgment I desire.
Coercive Power- The person I follow has the authority to discipline me if I don’t follow them.
Legitimate Power- The person I follow has a title more “lofty” than mine, and therefore I fall in line with the hierarchical infrastructure to which I have agreed to adhere.
Expert Power- The person I follow has more knowledge or expertise in a certain area or field, therefore I am obligated to trust and follow them.
Referent Power- The person I follow stands for an ideal for which I can get behind, one I am proud to follow of my own free will and choice.
Which of these sources of power can we develop? The first three are equal across the board, based on peers at the same position. We can work to develop the other types of sources of power.
Be the type of leader now that you want to be in the future. Stand for something. People follow someone who believes passionately in what they are doing. If you can’t get excited about your job, why should anyone else?
Decide who you are, the type of person you want to be, and be that. Live a sincere life. If that means you want to be an asshole, fine, be that. But be it in a less altruistic or idealistic industry. Go work for Comcast. If you feel you were built to help people and make a difference instead of comparing dick sizes, then find the work that allows you to pursue those ideals. Do something meaningful.
Stand for something more! Stop competing with others like you and start competing with those who would bring misery to and defraud the American people.
For Leaders, Remember this:
The way you feel about your staff will always be slightly better than the way they feel about you. So you better love them, and hopefully they will like and respect you. Start now.
Be what you want to be, want to be what you are best at, the thing that makes you feel most fulfilled. Stop working toward the next promotion and start working toward the thing you love the most. Money will come, but your time, energy and effort is non-refundable.
You can trust me, I'm an MBA.