Follower-ship, Bottom-Up Leadership
By: Alex Clay, Claims Vendor Manager at The Main Street America Group
As the world struggles to keep pace with changes in technology, communication and advancement in human awareness, professional leadership concepts such as embracing bottom-up leadership have gained increasing traction in theory and application. Traditionalist leadership has many paradoxes that create errant judgment in the leadership styles of past. In moving away from these timeworn qualities, those of leadership stake should consider dropping the charade of divinity often assumed from roles of power and encourage an atmosphere that creates value in the role of follower-ship. The term “bottom-up” leadership‘s intended implication is that leadership provides an opportunity for line employees to have an active role in determining strategy; a voice. When promotion of a free-flowing avenue for dialogue occurs, continuous advancement in innovation, strategy and morale emerge in all associated with the process. Changing the behavior away from traditionalist leadership roles to a “bottom-up” leadership approach takes time and is not something to be dictated or pressured. This movement of inclusion is a method of leadership that is developed through exchange and trust over time.
Our stereotypical dogma of leadership shapes our expectation when we occupy the role of leader or follower. The general assumption is that leaders in organizations know the processes and tasks that front-line employees engage in during the operations of daily pursuits. All in all, many do not! A common downfall of leadership is our unknown disposition to the reticent ego we carry. The takeaway is that people at the bottom know most of the answers without having the questions. Those at the top typical have dissociated themselves through gradual promotion away from the answers contained in daily affairs and into positions that promote questioning. The acceptance that not any one caste of the organization is going to know all the answers or have all the questions needs to be realized for bottom-up leadership to be effective. When leadership can embrace the goals of virtuous follower-ship, it can break out of the restraints of vanity and build a platform on mutual enterprise with employees who take pride and satisfaction in the role of being a supportive player within the organization.
About the author:
An 11 year patron of the property claims industry, Alex has worked for several carriers ranging in size and stature across the country. He started as a Catastrophe adjuster and has continued to climb the ranks. A graduate of Flagler College with a Bachelor’s in Business Admin. and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a Masters in Organizational Leadership, Alex believes that the claims industry is entering into a renaissance period, that focuses on leadership reformation and not fixated on the employee base. He looks to educated those wishing to attempt to engage new leadership theory within claim environments.