The Connecting Leader

Serving Concurrently as a Leader and a Follower

Edited by:
Zahira Jaser, University of Sussex

A volume in the series: Leadership Horizons. Editor(s): Michelle C. Bligh, Claremont Graduate University. Melissa Carsten, Winthrop University.

Published 2021

Previous books of the Leadership Horizon Series showed unequivocally how both leaders and followers play an equally important part in the co-production of leadership outcomes, and how leader and follower identities are fluid, so that the same individual can enact both at different times. This book stretches the notion of leadership a step further by exploring the co-enactment of both roles, identities, and positions of leader and follower by one same individual. This individual is defined as a connecting leader, as in this co-enactment he/she functions as connector between different leadership relationships.

The concept of connecting leader emerges from the observation that most individuals in organizations engage in the leader-follower role co-enactment: managers, pulled between executives and reportees; CEOs, between the board and the head of departments; or employees involved in cross functional teams, leading and following in different degrees, subject to their expertise. Yet, despite its pervasiveness this concept is at best under theorized by the literature, which, dominated by dyadic and romanticized views, mostly presents the roles as enacted by separate individuals facing each other.

To advance our understanding of connecting leaders the editor proposes to shift our focus on leadership in three ways: to unpack the interconnectedness and interplay of leader and follower identities; to investigate the tensions arising from the co-enactment and how these can be overcome; to widen the way in which we study leadership, through new configurations (e.g. leadership triads) and ontologies; and finally to consider the similarities between leading and following. The book chapters are organized to mirror these areas of exploration. Understanding leadership from a perspective that acknowledges that many individuals in organizations are not just leaders or followers, but both, democratizes the way we theorize leadership, and moves us further away from the temptation to romanticize it.

Foreword, Mary Uhl-Bien and Sonia M. Ospina. Introduction: The Connecting Leader, Zahira Jaser. PART I: INTERCONNECTED LEADER-FOLLOWER IDENTITIES. From a Leader and a Follower to Shared Leadership: An Identity-Based Structural Model for Shared Leadership Emergence, Elisa Adriasola and Robert G. Lord. Bridging Gaps in Organizations: Leaders as Entrepreneurs of Identity, Martin P. Fladerer, Niklas K. Steffens, and S. Alexander Haslam. PART II: JANUSIAN TENSIONS. Paradox, Leadership, and the Connecting Leader, Camille Pradies, Marieke Delanghe, and Marianne W. Lewis. Meddling in the Middle: The Middle Manager Yo-Yo on a Constant Move, Mats Alvesson and Susann Gjerde. PART III: THE CONNECTING LEADER IN PRACTICE. From Connecting Leaders to Connecting Leadership: A Study of Interaction, Christian Dyrlund Wåhlin-Jacobsen and Magnus Larsson. The Connecting Leader and Managerial Stances at Work: A Practice Perspective, Roddy Walker. PART IV: LEADER AND FOLLOWER AS ONE. Leadership and Followership as One: Connecting Leaders in the Military, Melanie A. Robinson, Nicole Bérubé, and Ann Langley. Everyday Leadership and Engaged Followership: Two Sides of the Same Construct, Ronald E. Riggio, Zhengguang Liu, Rebecca J. Reichard, and Dayna O. H. Walker.