Tuesday 12 November 2019

All models are wrong

Image result for all models are wrong
Above quote by George Box is commonly used in Statistic and Machine learning but this post has nothing to do with Machine Learning!

I am going to share some thing about leadership models not machine learning model.

Some of the extremely successful leaders like Steve JobsSteve BallmerJeff bezosLarry Ellison , Elon Musk , Jack Mamark zuckerberg has played key role in transformation of our industry and life but do you want to use their leadership style or want to work with them ?

All of these leader are very successful and they came up with ideology,principles that worked in the system they were in and as engineer we know each system is optimized for very specific goals.

So before you start taking some of the traits from any leader you have also think about the system in which they we using that style and if you are not in that type of system then this leadership is going to do more damage than help.

With that we have to rephrase George Box statement to include leadership 

All leadership models are wrong but some are useful.

Today leadership has to be more open,collaborative and inclusive. 

Leadership comes after followership but many time we think that it is boolean, you are either leader or follower, being good follower is first stage of leadership and you have work on continuous improvement of followership skills.

Leadership and followership are two side of same coin but many leadership discussion, books etc puts very less focus on followership, so as individual you never deliberately practice follower skill. 


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Followership has been studied for years and has many models, wikipedia link has good summary of the common ones and remember each model is optimized for system in which it works.
One of the model proposed by Ira Chaleff is very interesting, it divide followers in 4 types and later 5th one was also added.

As per him model looks like this
Image result for ira chaleff followership"

It has 2 dimension support & challenge.

Resource is low support and low challenge. They do what is asked for, they do enough to retain position.

Implementer is high support and low challenge. This is 10x engineer in team, always up for anything required to meet deadline. Leaders love this type of follower but side effect is that they will not speak up when things does not make sense or are not strategic. 

Individualists is low support & high challenge. This type has "Me" mindset and shows hostility towards someone or something. This type of follower are difficult to manage and needs constant realignment. 

Partners is high support & high challenge. This is sweet spot and very hard to find. This type of follower challenge leaders to make sure they understand big picture of team or organization. Once they are aligned then they take full responsibility and work whole heart to make it happen. This type of individual are good candidate for moving into leadership role.

Both leadership and followership are important to be successful and having self awareness of what type of leader & follower you are is very important. This gives nice model to understand people and their behavior. 

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