Reverse Leadership

Reverse Leadership

A leader is the one who leads and therefore (s)he must be in the front. This is the familiar. Creativity is turning the familiar to unfamiliar. So, reverse leadership becomes leading from behind. This is unusual. Where is the creativity of this idea?

I published a SlideShare presentation titled Reverse Businesses, in which I showed by example many forms of reverse businesses in life and how these businesses became successful.

                                 Source- my presentation on SlideShare "Reverse                      Businesses". https://www.slideshare.net/hudali15/reverse-businesses


What prompted me to write this buzz without any intentional planning is my reading today’s buzz by Claire L Cardwell. I commented on the buzz by writing “@Claire L Cardwell- enjoyed reading your buzz immensely. I will just give a different comment. You wrote "I expect them to drive badly and would rather have them in front of me, where I can see if they cause an accident, rather than driving me off the road". Sometimes to be a leader you must be in the back. Is this paradoxical? May be, but you offer a great reason for doing it”.

Claire response encouraged me to delay my intended next buzz and publish this one first. She responded - I think a post on reverse leadership is a great idea - please tag me. Although you will have to check the Wolf Story - it could be a rather popular fabrication I saw on other social media channels”.

What are the advantages of reverse leadership, or leading from behind? First, a leader in the front has always to look back to see his/her followers. In contrast, leading from behind gives the leader the opportunity to scan followers without directly observing them and avoiding the Observant Effect, which may stress followers.

A second reason is that reverse businesses need reverse leaders. Conventional leaders shall lack the creativity and agility if they are leading from front.

A third reason is inspired from nature, which I discussed in my two previous buzzes. Fish, for example, travel in large numbers to avoid predators and dilute their chances of being selected individually. The fish try to occupy the center because it is the least risky position to be in. A leader who acts this way gives a message that (s)he looks for his/her own survival. This will discredit the leader. Like fish experience, when oxygen diminishes in the center, fish try to push a little away to water which still have dissolved oxygen while keeping the farthest possible from the periphery. The leader enters a survival battle. In turbulent times such as those we experience today; a great leader is the one who ventures and is daring to take accountability. A leader stays at the back to oversee the team and test the waters of work but shall only be at the front if new waters are to be tested.

A reverse leader is willing to reverse his/her front position and move to behind of the team. This allows for the team to self-organize, learn, adapt with agility.

Do you find the idea of reverse leaders sensible? Please share your views.



#135 Thank you dear @Jean L. Serio CPC, CeMA for your contribution. Most comments are in agreement with you though some commenters disputed the term reverse leadership. I completely agree with your comment.

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Jean L. Serio CPC, CeMA 7/1/2019 · #135

Because I'm late to the party in responding to this unique post, I'm not sure this was mentioned in responses. Leading from behind also allows leaders to come up with new ideas, new or better ways of managing. It can help them predict outcomes and change course - if necessary. Thanks again for taking the time to share your wealth of knowledge, Ali.

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#133 Thank you @David Quan and I welcome you on board. Trust, but verify is a way out of this chasm. The question is to verify what? Not only ability, but also capacity to learn, to change, to adapt, to understand staff and their shadows to motivate them and become duly self-dependent.

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David Quan 28/10/2018 · #133

I wholeheartedly agree with your concept as I have used this basic principle , whether as part of staff, management and ownership. While I am completely invested in the premise, I have been finding that many corporate entities make their initial investment (Dollars, human capital, equipment, etc...) place way too much trust in middle and lower level managers to implement and make improvements to the process as needed. Do you have ny ideas to remedy this chasm?

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Claire L Cardwell 2/10/2018 · #132

#131 Well thank you Ali that's actually a great compliment - will add it to 'the latest collection' which includes The Chaos Queen who ties knots in 'String Theory" Claire x

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#130 So you have another deep paradox, Claire "wicked sense of humour". I don't blame Mathew for what he requested from you. WE say opposites attract ( not always though), but in your paradoxes that is the hidden beauty. When we interact paradoxes something great emerges. This happens to be my buzz for publishing this afternoon.
I wonder what Claire means. I shall not be surprised if it means the beautiful paradox.

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Claire L Cardwell 2/10/2018 · #130

Part 2

So I thought to myself 'why not, we are trapped in a room with a load of star struck morons and Mr Superwanker of the millennium (both of them) 20th and 21st.

Well let's just say it was worth the wait! Matthew certainly looked rather smug when the room magically cleared.

Prof Hans Enysenck took one look at me and said that the whole lecture was about me! I was the classic reason for an immediate removal of my uterus.

I looked at him and said Hans my boy, I will show you yours if you show me mine, first of all though I need you to hop into that Dentists Chair.
I think that tooth infection has actually spread to your brain and it's too late for Tamoxyfen.
Hold on I said, I think I've got some 'gold spot' and a breath mint in my bag to tide you over!

He looked quite shocked and then burst out laughing. I think it's a very long time that he had his chain pulled and he got swung around like that. He looked at the white face of Prof Lader (Sir Malcom Lader) and laughed even harder.

Say what you want about this Gentleman - he has a wicked sense of humour!

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Claire L Cardwell 2/10/2018 · #129

Oh yes Ali, I actually insulted the eminent grey haired old man in front of the entire staff of the Royal Bethlam and Maudsley Hospital, Institute of Trick Cyclists, Kings College University, London.

I had had to listen to yet another lecture about how hysterectomy was the best way of 'handling women who had a bad attitude'... He spent the entire lecture staring at me, so I spent the entire time smiling at him and occasionally licking my lips.

I was sitting with the current main 'squeeze' competitor of the month - Matthew, who was a super hot really cool ideal of the Aryan Race. Anyway Blondie and I were late, spectacularly late.

The only two seats available were right at the front. So we shrugged I proceeded to say very bad things in French as our reserved seats had been taken.

We were trapped after the lecture as we could not even leave our seats as hoards of star struck fools surrounded the man so they could tell each other - he looked at me, guess what I touched his coat. Blah Blah apparently we were viewing the second coming of JC.

I made a further sarcastic comment about that silly place in France - Lourdes.

Matthew looked at me and said, will you kiss me, I have been asking you for over a month!

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