Subordinate Leadership Definition: Demystifying the Meaning of a Term
This essay elaborates on subordinate leadership. The reference texts are Remarks on Leadership to open Central Texas ASPA Conference October 19, 2001, by Kenneth Ashworth; and Strengthen Others by Kouzes and Posner. The essay describes and explains subordinate leadership: what it is, how its implementation, and the results. It also focuses on why subordinate leadership is particularly useful in the public agency. There is an analysis of the ideas of both Ashworth and Kouzes and Posner.
Demystifying Subordinate Leadership
Subordinate leadership is indirect kind of leadership that emanates from the subjects rather than from the leader. Leaders involve their subjects to develop followership and influence by satisfying the needs of the followers. It is an art of persuasion operating upwards from below (Ashworth, 2001). The leader imparts in the followers that they are the leaders and not the subordinates. Additionally, the manager studies his or her people by listening, watching, probing and searching for charismatic individuals then takes the step of including them in the leadership at their points of strength. Another dimension of subordinate leadership is the ordinary people in the society, who are wise and of great influence, prompting leaders to do things that they would otherwise not do. They study their senior officers, appreciate their mentality, purpose, strengths and weaknesses; and capitalize on their competence to accomplish exploits (Ashworth, 2001).
Charismatic personalities captivate not only their equals in society but also the political class. Their oratory skills and discretion in the presentation of matters earn them a listening ear in their environments hence giving them the power of influence. In fact, persons of influence use leaders for their benefits. Subordinate leadership has been a powerful tool for women to have their way (Ashworth, 2001). Politicians consider such attractive ideas, which give them credit in society, therefore, they deem working closely with personalities of influence. The latter get things moving smoothly in the society and easily advance the agenda of the politician. Subordinate Leadership is about leaders who trust their staffs, share information, involve people in deliberations and allows them to exercise their discretion in decision-making (Kouzes & Posner, 2012). Subordinate leadership is implemented through the power of the leader who has been influenced or outwitted by a subject. Subordinate leadership results in leaders approving and implementing projects. The individuals who inspired the action benefit from the execution of the matters of interest. Subordinate leadership leads to a general administration that accommodates great ideas from subordinates in authority. The subjects cooperate with their leaders more
Rationale of Subordinate Leadership in the Public Agency
Subordinate leadership gets things done more than a leader would achieve in their authority and power (Ashworth, 2001). As a leader, one's subordinates and other outsiders will accomplish a lot that they would not achieve on their own. One follows individuals who have smarter ideas than one even thought. Subordinate leadership is particularly useful in the public agency because it is a more open and inclusive system than the private companies. The public authority comprises of many members who work better, when they are under the subordinate leadership, unlike the private bureaucracies. If the members of the agency are isolated from the running of the organization, it becomes a recipe for failure. The staff is likely to relax or remain in a comfort zone.
Subordinate leadership will stretch their abilities to ensure that there is no underperformance or limitations. The workers take the initiative to achieve daily targets, which are challenging. Subordinates who are included by the leader in the running of the agency feel a sense of ownership, which enhances responsibility and accountability. The manager also needs those transformational ideas that can be pioneered by ordinary members for the betterment of the agency. Most of the solutions to the challenges of the public authority require teamwork and subordinate approach to integrating efforts and competence. Subordinate leadership also curbs idleness in the entity by assigning individual targets to meet within periods. The subordinates and other members whose contribution is implemented are motivated and the other member's contribute easily than when everything proceeds from above. In subordinate leadership, members are monitors of each other and due to the interdependence of the roles keep the staff in check.
Analysis of Subordinate Leadership Ideas
Ashworth’s ideas on subordinate leadership entail a leader depending on the inspiration of subordinates and implementing the important thoughts. The subordinates are the resource persons while the leader utilizes his power to get things done. Kouze and Posner advocate for transfer of power to group members. They observed that this conveys trust, which increases productivity (Kouze & Posner, 2012). They further say that great leaders commit themselves to strengthen others. They do this by enhancing competence, listening, giving credit and involving their staff in decision-making. The manager provides control rather than being in control hence enabling the subjects to develop self-determination, competence, and confidence. Consequently, the leader becomes more powerful by delegating power. The subordinates feel accepted and work efficiently to attain goals that they regard as their achievements yet, in the end, the external observers will give credit to the leader. Selfish managers are limited in leadership because they feel insecure with the subordinates hence end up adapting petty and dictatorial styles of leadership (Kouze & Posner, 2012).
The staff should be given room for choices in the execution of their mandate so that they do not feel bulldozed or manipulated. The leader should structure jobs to offer latitude. The team members should operate beyond the level of the set procedures, rules, and schedules. Intrinsic motivation should be the impetus of achievement instead of external regulations. Subordinate leadership fosters accountability when the member takes personal responsibility and accountability for their actions and assignments. The staff should be in-serviced to upgrade and update their skills with the dynamics of the society. Groups and partnerships within the larger organization help members to know and appreciate each other as well as contributing to developing one another’s skills. A leader who shares executive information quickly gets feedback and solutions to major issues affecting the organization. The manager should provide all the necessary resources and strike a balance between the skills of individuals and the challenges of their tasks. The leader who embraces subordinate leadership is a facilitator who reinforces the team to work efficiently. The work of each leader is more of oversight since the real tasks have been taken over by subordinates including observing the required standards of production.
Subordinate leadership is a practical approach to leadership that makes the whole difference for a leader. The leadership approach breaks the status quo and reaches out to the subjects for their competence and unique ideas. The essay has described subordinate leadership, its usefulness in public agency and the ideas highlighted in the reference texts.
Ashworth, K. (2001). Remarks on Leadership to open Central Texas ASPA Conference.
Kouzes, J.M. & Posner, B.Z. (2012).The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations: Strengthen Others. 5th ed. San Francisco. CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
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