Coming to a conclusion on what is or is not effective leadership may not occur in our lifetimes. Moreover, since it is debated on an almost continuous basis I would like to get a bit “creative” with the discussion of effective leadership and change one letter in the word. Rather than simply seeking the same old effective leadership what if the goal of an organization was “affective” leadership? More specifically, what would the impact on followers be if leadership stressed emotion over rationality, or whose end goal was a “moving” experience for its customers rather than a reliable product? If an organization developed affective leaders, would empowerment change? I argue in the affirmative as barriers to creativity would be erased. The most notable of these barriers being fear; fear of failure, ridicule, of not being promoted, change, and of taking risks (Gibson, 2005). These fears keep an individual from doing those things that are absolutely necessary for the creative process to result in new, unusual ideas, or products.
Affective leaders understand fear and relieve it of its influence by changing the power relationship between themselves and followers (Ciulla, 2004). I am not speaking of transformational leadership, emotional intelligence or even servant leadership per-se, I am referring to a leader’s desire to enhance everything around them. The very nature of this desire forces the leader to embrace the notion that they must work with everyone they can and illicit the ideas, skills and hopes of all concerned if they hope to meet the challenges associated with such an enormous undertaking as global enhancement. Much of this enhancement will come not from position but rather fast and flexible networks of engaged and empowered people (Deiss & Sullivan, 1998) seeking the best solutions to a wide variety of complex problems. These challenges themselves will determine who should lead and who should follow (Hesselbein, Goldsmith & Beckhard, 1996).
Ciulla, J. B. (Ed.). (2004). Ethics, the heart of leadership. Greenwood Publishing Group.
Deiss, K. J., & Sullivan, M. (1998). The shared leadership principle: creating leaders throughout the organization. Leading ideas: Issues and trends in diversity, leadership and career development, 2, 2-6.
Gibson, D. (2005). Hurdling creative barriers: A top-down approach for encouraging innovation in the workplace. Leadership Advance On-line. V, 1-5.
Hesselbein, F., Goldsmith, M., & Beckhard, R. (1996). The leader of the future. Jossey Bass.