Followership Engagement in Hybrid Distributed Leadership
By presenting three unedited narratives embedded in different contexts, this chapter demonstrates how research on distributed leadership (DL) inadequately addresses DL’s holistic quality, side-lining its discourse, while fueling irrelevant assumptions and myths about it. DL is less about the idea that everyone is a leader and more about a choice in attitude of leadership. It is a leader’s attitude for a more collaborative form of leadership that embraces diversity and good governance, while recognizing the complexities of informed and effective decision-making. DL is also a reciprocal expression of organizational agility. DL as a hybrid form of leadership, engaging followers in all or parts of the organization demonstrating inclusive leadership that respects formal power and the individual leader is observed. The fact that the narratives take place in three different settings—a hierarchical public university, a flat structure technology company, and a networked distribution organization—mitigates and transgresses the sometimes overstated importance of structure and industry. DL illustrates the followership–leadership dichotomy, one that is complementary and of mutual engagement. In short, DL is guided by a purposeful leadership focus (“why”) and is underlined by how the “how” in leadership is implemented. The “what” is done and the “who” does it are secondary.