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PRODUCING LEADER-FOLLOWER: JEROME TEELUCKSINGH, Ph.D.

We all know the importance of a good leader. Effective leaders of armies, governments, religious institutions and schools usually possess certain qualities. A company would pay millions of dollars for a skilled and competent CEO. In turn this leader would be expected to ensure there are profits and sound management. There are many books, audio tapes and DVDs which focus on creating the ultimate leader.

Some leaders demand or earn their respect and admiration. This is a result of their training, education, experience, eloquence and/or charisma. International Men’s Day has been able to expand because of suitable leaders and supporters who listen and learn from each other. It is a simple success story which ensures the success and survival of this Day.

Today’s world demands a modified leader. He or she must be flexible. There is need for a leader who is also a follower. This leader-follower or leader-supporter is someone who is willing to listen to advice from others. The leader-follower must be willing to welcome new ideas from persons at lower levels, outsiders and newcomers. In such an environment there is also another empowered individual emerging: the follower-leader or supporter-leader.

The chain of command is not broken but instead the lines of communication are strengthened. This prevents or reduces the weak links who would be blamed for failures or losses. Under such conditions of equal opportunity to express himself or herself, the follower or supporter possesses a genuine voice or role and there is no tokenism. This will allow for a maximization of human resources as the employee, supporter or follower feels valued and worthy. Thus, such empowerment will allow for less hostility, reduced competition for the leadership position and more progress to ensure the organization succeeds or is profitable.

International Men’s Day does not distinguish between leaders, followers and supporters. The supporter-leader and the leader-supporter are equal. Both listen to each other and display a mutual respect during their exchange of ideas. It prevents a weak link among the supporters and followers because each person feels appreciated. In this framework, there is a sharing of decision-making processes and achievements.

The follower-leader has the opportunity to lead, take initiative and is given credit for ideas. This concept is not to be confined to the business or government. I’m sure that within the home, there will be peace and stability when the voices of all family members are considered.

Such a concept (leader-follower or follower-leader) is not new and already exists within International Men’s Day. Yes, International Men's Day allows for a global campaign which values each person and thus able to provide direction and embrace unique styles of leadership.

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