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19 Jan 2012

Leadership is an Affect

One can read endlessly about leadership. However, if plays play on a stage, if baseball plays on a diamond, movies on a screen and chess on a board, where does leadership play? It plays in the mind of every member of the group.

Yes, we often see leaderships as having a good vision, strategy, idea or something tangibly similar. In reality though, these aren’t any good if leaders can’t inspire members around these things. By putting leadership on this emotional plane, it becomes subjective; a leader to one could be the Pied Piper to another.

Additionally, leadership comes from the word lead. Lead implies movement from one place to another. This is a change, so leadership is about change. Thus, by combining emotions and change, we arrive at a the conclusion that:

Leadership is an affect – felt by members and personified by one individual – which induces change.

We can see this more clearly in business if we ask: Are employees’ hearts into following their leader? After all, inspiration is a far better motivator for change than compliance. For example, if a leader can personify some of these feelings into an affect, that leader could be a powerful change agent:

Trust Distinctiveness
Dependency Belonging
Security Growth
Adventure Powerfulness
Opportunism Accomplishment
Superiority Confidence
Mastery Optimism
Infallibility Renewal
Courage Validation
Purposefulness Salvation

Since groups are an abstraction, leaders become the “faces” groups, the vehicle through which members can give their feelings a human form. Leaders become the manifestation of their members’ feelings.

The practical outcome of this is that leadership changes from a project- or action-oriented endeavor to a relational one. This means people are more important than vision and relationships are more important than processes. Thus, leadership transform from something mechanical to something human . . . and possibly divine.

 

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