Leadership and followership development are increasingly recognized as important in all fields of the workforce. The Innovative Leadership Model helps leaders increase self-understanding and optimize the performance of organizations by focusing on Leader Type, Developmental Perspective, Resilience, Situational Analysis, and Leadership Behaviors and Mindsets. The Leader-Follower Framework identifies key elements – Character, Competence, Communication, Context – to guide the development of individual leaders and followers across four psychosocial levels – Personal, Interpersonal, Team, Organizational. Each of these approaches has value and has been applied in various settings and contexts. The present chapter offers a new insight relevant to leadership by combining these two perspectives and their component elements. Understanding and developing each of these elements will optimize effective leadership and followership in a wide range of situations and settings.
- innovative leadership
- leader type
- developmental perspective
- situational analysis
- leadership behaviors and mindsets
- leader-follower framework
Development of individuals as leaders is important in all fields of the workforce. Within teams, in addition to the diversity of the individual team members (including leaders and followers), uniqueness of team members, individual goals, communication styles, differing leadership and followership styles, and so on introduce challenges to true teamwork and must all be considered to optimize goal achievement of individuals, teams, and organizations [1, 2, 3].
Leadership influences individuals, teams, and groups by enhancing behaviors (actions), cognitions (perceptions, thoughts, beliefs), and motivations (reasons behaviors and cognitions) to achieve common goals. Leaders are aspirational, inspirational, provide resources, and remove barriers to optimize the success of followers, organizations, and the people served by organizations. Leaders must continuously attend to and align all elements of the systems within which they operate to adapt and respond to changes from within and outside the system. Followership refers to the actions of individuals who are not in leadership roles. Followers are members of a team or group who contribute (or not) to the team; align (or not) with the vision of the leader, and adapt (or not) to the situations and to other members of the team. Effective followers are essential to achieve goals and can influence all members of the team, including their leaders [4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9].
Day  distinguishes between leaders and leadership, such that “leader” refers to human capital and intrapersonal knowledge, skills, abilities, attitudes, and attributes, and “leadership” refers to social capital, interpersonal relationships, and organization culture. The same distinction can be made for followers and followership.
Innovative leaders engage their intentions and actions with those of their followers within the organization’s culture and systems to reach the organization’s objectives and goals and those of the people it serves. Innovative leaders consider and serve the interests of the organization and its members. Leaders influence followers, teams, and the whole organization. Followers can influence leaders, other followers, teams, and the entire organization. Innovative leaders and followers adapt and develop themselves and their organizations to optimize effectiveness within changing environments or context (physical, psychological, social) [11, 12].
There are many different models and approaches for leader and leadership development. Some focus on the development of leaders [9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19] and followers [20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28]
Recently, we have merged two models to address all of these needs for health care leadership . The Innovative Leadership Model helps leaders increase self-understanding and optimize the performance of organizations by focusing on Leader Type, Development Perspective, Resilience, Situational Analysis, and Leadership Behaviors and Mindsets. The Innovative Leadership Model focuses on development perspective and growth of individuals to serve organizations and systems. The Leader-Follower Framework identifies key elements – Character, Competence, Communication, Context – to guide the development of individual leaders and followers across four psychosocial levels – Personal, Interpersonal, Team, Organizational [5, 7]. The Leader-Follower Framework focuses on the elements relevant to meaningfully development and performance of individual leaders and followers. The inclusion of key aspects of these two models may offer a valuable new insight into optimizing. Each of these approaches has value and has been applied in various settings and contexts. The present chapter offers new insights into how integrating these approaches can optimize innovative leadership and followership in a wide range of situations and settings.
2. Innovative leadership and followership
Leadership impacts people strategically and tactically, effecting change in intentions, actions, cultures, and systems to move organizations forward in ways that improve the lives of the people it serves while considering the interests of the organization’s members and stakeholders. Innovation refers to novel ideas, processes, and advancements that contribute to and shape organizations and people. Meaningful leadership and innovation are inextricably connected. Merging leadership with innovation encourages and, perhaps, demands transformational personal and organizational growth [33, 34]. Table 1 presents contrasts between traditional leadership and innovative leadership.
Innovative leadership and followership mean that leaders and followers influence and contribute by engaging personal intention/character and action/competence/communication with the organization’s culture, systems, and context. Innovative leadership and followership can improve organizations and the lives of the people it serves by considering the interests, needs, and goals of the organizational members and stakeholders. Innovative leaders consistently deliver results using [35, 36, 37]:
Strategic approaches that inspire individual intentions and goals and organizational vision and culture;
Tactical approaches that influence individuals’ actions and organizations’ systems and processes;
Holistic approaches that align individual intentions and actions with organizational cultures and systems.
Innovative followers embrace, embody, and contribute to all three of these approaches.
2.1 The value of innovative leadership and followership
Innovating/elevating leadership and followership means to successfully adapt in ways that allow optimal performance, even within the changes and complexity of an organization or system. Conceptually, individuals integrate ideas and perspectives from many leadership and followership principles and concepts, and from developmental, communications, and systems theories [38, 39]. Innovative leaders and followers recognize and critically examine themselves and their organizations’ cultures and systems during various circumstances. It is valuable for individuals to focus on the needs and mission of the organization, system, and cultures to which they contribute. In addition, individuals should recognize how they contribute to something larger than themselves.
2.2 Defining what innovative leaders and followers do
Innovative leaders utilize their advanced developmental capability to facilitate transformational ideas and approaches that enable innovation [33, 34, 36]. They are aware of and focus on others and the organizations/systems in which they operate. Behaviors of developmentally mature innovate leaders and followers who grow developmentally and in organizational effectiveness include (Table 2):
|Traditional Leadership||Innovative Leadership|
|The leader is guided primarily by the desire for personal success and peripherally by the organizational success||The leader is humbly guided by a more altruistic vision of success based on both performance and the value of the organization’s positive impact|
|The leader decides in a “command and control” style; the leader has all the answers||The leader leverages the team for answers as part of the decision-making process|
|The leader picks a direction in “black/white” manner; tends to stay the course dogmatically||The leader perceives and behaves like a scientist: continually experimenting, measuring, and testing for improvement and exploring new models and approaches|
|The leader focuses on being technically correct and in charge||The leader is continually learning and developing self and others|
|The leader manages people to perform by being autocratic and controlling||The leader motivates people to perform through strategic focus, mentoring and coaching, emotional and social intelligence|
|The leader tends to the numbers and primarily utilizes quantitative measures that drive those numbers||The leader pays attention to performance, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, community impact, and cultural cohesion|
|Innovative Leaders||Innovative Followers|
|Articulate clear vision||Embrace and contribute to vision|
|Connect vision with attainable actions||Connect vision with attainable actions|
|Develop themselves and followers||Develop themselves and other teammates|
|Are resilient and navigate complexity, uncertainty, and stress||Are resilient and navigate complexity, uncertainty, and stress|
|Communicate effectively, sending and receiving information, verbally and nonverbally||Communicate effectively sending and receiving, verbally and nonverbally|
|Build effective teams by helping followers participate and grow||Contribute to their teams|
|Communicate roles for all team members clearly||Understand their roles and the roles of others|
|Create a culture of fairness, respect and recognition||Ability to impact individuals, teams, and systems to create a fair and engaging organization|
|Develop a culture of safety||Embody a culture of safety|
|Cultivate alliances and partnerships||Cultivate alliances and partnerships|
|Anticipate and effectively respond to challenges and opportunities||Anticipate and effectively respond to challenges and opportunities|
|Develop robust and resilient solutions||Apply robust and resilient solutions|
|Measure, learn, and adapt||Learn and adapt|
|Grow personally and developmentally to evolve perceptions and meaning-making capabilities||Grow personally and developmentally to evolve perceptions and meaning-making capabilities|
3. Merging innovative leadership and the leader-follower framework: New insights
To optimize innovative leadership and followership, we offer the merging of two conceptual models. The “Innovative Leadership Model” [11, 12] and the “Leader-Follower Framework” [5, 6, 7] complement each other and overlap with a differing depth of emphasis on essential leadership and followership elements and processes. Together they provide new insights into a broadly inclusive structure to develop optimal leadership and followership. These two approaches recently have been applied together to optimize the development of innovative leaders in health care [12, 40]. Yet, they also can be applied more broadly to enhance the innovative leader and follower development in all settings.
Leadership Behaviors and Mindsets
The Innovative Leadership Model and Leader-Follower Framework are valuable to develop both as leaders and as followers. To be an effective leader, you also must be willing and able to develop followers. It is essential for leaders and followers to understand, develop, and know when and how to lead and follow (Figure 2).
3.1 Elements of innovative leadership
Developmental maturity – developing the advancing meaning-making capacity to easily and intuitively identify complexity, approach others without ego, embrace both tactical and strategic concerns, and embrace transformation (i.e., capabilities to execute highly effective Competence and Communication at the Interpersonal, Team, and Organizational psychosocial levels)
Self-understanding – the inner process including Character and outer behaviors including Competence and Communication (i.e., three of the C’s of the Leader-Follower Framework at the Personal psychosocial level)
Understanding organizational culture and systems (i.e., Context within the Leader-Follower Framework at the Organizational psychosocial level)
The Innovative Leadership model addresses: Leader Type, Developmental Perspective, Resilience, Situational Analysis, and Leadership Behaviors and Mindsets.
Self-awareness is the practice of engaging in self-reflection and achieving clarity of insight. Internal self-awareness refers to our own understanding of ourselves, whereas external self-awareness refers to understanding how others perceive and understand us. Self-understanding, understanding how others perceive us, and the extent to which perceptions about ourselves are accurate and compatible with others’ perceptions play a pivotal role in our effectiveness and leader-follower relationships. Self-aware individuals possess high levels of emotional intelligence; self-regulate behaviors, cognitions, and emotions more effectively depending on the situation; and continually evaluate their impact on others [49, 50, 51, 52, 53]. These attributes allow self-aware individuals to become more versatile, adaptive, and may perform better. The ability to use deep self-reflection relies on developing self-understanding and self-awareness, features of emotional intelligence. Self-understanding and self-awareness allow us to expand our perspective and to understand others better. A clearer understanding of ourselves and others can help build interpersonal, team, and organizational effectiveness. Feedback from trusted colleagues, family members, and friends in psychologically safe contexts is extremely valuable to develop self-awareness. Leader Type is an aspect of Character.
Developmental growth occurs as other capabilities expand in our lives. By understanding and building upon our Leader Type and Character, we can continue to grow, increasing access to and capacity for additional skills and capabilities. That is, we can develop our capacity to build beyond the basic skills we have now by moving through more progressive stages. The successful individual has a broad repertoire of mindsets and behaviors and can select the most appropriate ones depending on the context.
Innovative leaders and followers must adapt to volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) situations and demands while maintaining physical, psychological, and emotional health to have the resilience essential for success. They must build and sustain flexibility, adaptability, and focus; regain balance after disorienting situations; and be able to support and inspire others. Resilience can inspire and positively impact others.
Resilience requires physical and psychological health, a clear sense of life purpose, emotional intelligence, and strong supportive relationships. For most people, enhancing resilience requires personal change. Our view of resilience has four categories: maintaining physical well-being, managing thinking, working from the heart, and harnessing the power of connection. These categories are interlinked and all must be present and in balance to create long-term resilience. Maintaining resilience is essential to success. Improved resilience is accompanied by clearer thinking and greater positive interactions with others. Investing in resilience supports the entire organization’s effectiveness . Resilience is a transcendent leadership Competence.
In addition, innovative leaders and followers communicate with teammates and stakeholders relevant to the mission and goals of an organization. Effective communication requires “making meaning” of what is happening based on context, translated into words that senders and receivers mutually understand. We sense, receive, and convey messages verbally and non-verbally. Situational analysis allows us to make more informed decisions, and also helps to optimize performance within oneself, teams, and the broader organization.
Knowledge of the key concepts described in the Innovative Leadership Model and associated skills and practice result in effective leadership behaviors and mindsets – the objective actions that leaders take to impact individual, team, and organizational success. Knowledge and practice of these same concepts result in effective followership behaviors. These behaviors align with the idea of developmental maturity and specify critical behaviors and mindsets associated with the most effective leaders in complex and dynamic situations. Therefore, it is important to understand the critical leadership and followership behaviors relevant to you and your organization. With this understanding, you can determine where you excel and where you need to refine your skills.
It also is relevant to consider and to develop your mindset to exercise effective leadership and followership behaviors. Table 3 lists seven mindsets and associated behaviors that effective leaders and followers put into action regularly [12, 59].
|Examples of Innovative Mindsets and Behaviors|
|Unwavering commitment to the right action|
|A 360-degree thinker|
|Highly authentic and reflective|
|Inspires followership/team work with others|
3.2 Leader-follower framework
To develop as innovative leaders and followers, it is helpful to reflect upon, consider, and continuously develop Character, Competence, Context, and Communication across the four psychosocial levels – Personal, Interpersonal, Team, and Organizational [5, 6, 7].
Leadership and followership operate at four psychosocial Levels:
4. Relating the leader-follower framework to the innovative leadership model
5. Putting it all together
Innovative leadership and followership are optimized when elements of the Innovative Leadership Model and the Leader-Follower Framework are understood and applied.
Innovative leaders and followers develop internal and external self-awareness of their leader and follower types; stage of developmental maturity; level of resilience; value of situational analysis; leadership and followership behaviors.
Innovative leader and follower development depends on the four “C” elements of leadership and the four psychosocial levels of interaction.
Innovative leaders and followers develop mindsets, awareness, and maturity; behave in ways that reflect these ways of thinking; and update organizational cultures, systems, and processes to continue evolving. Innovative leaders and followers are open to novel, new, and creative ways to develop themselves and others.
Innovative leaders and followers attend to the development or change of themselves, their behaviors, the culture, systems, and processes concurrently and ensure they continually align all elements during ongoing changes.
Leaders and followers evolve in maturity stages throughout the course of their careers. They learn to behave in ways that optimize effective outcomes, considering themselves, others, and situations. Each stage of developmental maturity advances the individual’s capacities to deal with VUCA environments.
In the book,
6.1 Know thyself
Both the Innovative Leadership Model and the Leader-Follower Framework emphasize the importance of self-awareness.
6.2 Develop your capabilities
6.3 Evaluate your influence
6.4 Execute your influence
Combining the Innovative Leadership Model and the Leader-Follower Framework perspectives and their component elements provides new insights for leader and follower development. Understanding and developing each of these elements will optimize effective leadership and followership in a wide range of situations and settings.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
The opinions and assertions contained herein are the sole ones of the authors and are not to be construed as reflecting the views of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences or the Department of Defense.