In a not-so-distant past, it was widely understood that leadership meant that followers would seek to do what the leader wants. Being in such a team started with the idea of conformity. The spoken and unspoken rules had to be followed. One had to fit in.
One could blame the industrial revolution for establishing such an idea, however, it is much more probable that it is a transformation of the way people relate to one another that belongs to the story of humanity. But the industrial revolution might have been a moment in time when this idea of leadership had become all-encompassing.
Since then, the study of leadership became a thing and critical thinking another. Some organizations stayed with an old model of leadership that assumed that an idea of conformity, and consequently control, was the way to go under any circumstances. Others tried the other extreme hoping that critical thinking could always be present.
In today’s world, neither approach is sustainable. Times of crisis when survival is at stake almost automatically focus energies on survival often leading to followership without much questioning. It’s conformity out of the necessity of the situation. It isn’t there to adhere to the desires of leadership or secure membership in the group. And it falls away when the necessity disappears.
It is when things are going well, and energy isn’t easily focused that leaders need to find a different way to lead and invite followership. There is a growing necessity to figure out how to deal with the current amount of distributed energy. With enough low-level distraction available that opportunities seem to be everywhere energy is widely spread. It’s a result of a sustained belief that no opportunity should be missed and all should somehow be kept accessible. A detail that reinforces this is the many people who seem to have made it. All existing media highlight those who seem to have achieved an existing definition of success. Given all the information available to us, that is low-level distraction, the number of people who seem to have succeeded constantly multiplies. Not belonging to that group has almost become to be considered a failure.
It’s the ongoing dominance of conformity.
It comes through many doors. Most of which promise success, happiness, or equality as if these could be the objective.