“The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” -Ralph Nader
Superleadership is a concept that management professors Henry Sims and Charles Manz argue that the ultimate goal of leadership is empowering followers to take charge of their thoughts and behaviors (Hackman & Johnson, 2009). The two major leadership types to end with independence include superleadership and self-leadership. Self-leadership differs from superleadership with the followers acting on their own through self-behavior modification, finding enjoyment in the task, and building self-confidence through positive thinking (Hackman & Johnson, 2009). The success of the superleadership concept is very expansive if the leadership were effective to act as a stimulus to create a ripple effect. For example, the altruistic participation in the Power of Three originates with one person helping three others who then help three others and so on. In this example, random acts of kindness increase exponentially to help from three to nine to twenty-seven to eighty-one people and so forth. While it is effective to lead with a stagnant style, superleadership super-develops the effects of the one leader to create a leader out of every follower.
Robby Novak better known by the nickname Kid President is a 10-year old American comedian, motivational speaker, and a YouTube sensation (Kid President, n.d.). He practices superleadership with messages to simplify difficult/complicated issues (like depression to moral decision-making to dream-chasing) and challenges his variety of followers to learn to lead for themselves. He utilizes his inherent and his learned leadership skills as a viral Internet leader to motivate and accomplish tasks small to large and represent the voices of the next generation and to astonish the older generation with the incredible power and wisdom of the youth.
Pep Talk from Kid President
AWESOME YEAR Challenge from Kid President
From his Pep Talk address to everyone, he encourages, educates, and motivates his followers to prompt them to persevere to follow their dreams like he is. This style of superleadership is to guide followers from dependence to independence (Hackman & Johnson, 2009). He understands that there are many complications like depression and lack of desire to help the world, and confronts the complexity with the simplicity of putting oneself in a situation where they cannot be unhappy and how it is the duty to make the world a better place while pursuing a positive dream. He pursues his dreams and betters the world by inspiring others with his influence and strengthening his power with other famous advocates who support his causes like Emma Stone to the current President Obama.
Superleaders employ three strategies to create a climate that promotes independent thought and action: changing organizational structures, changing organizational processes, and changing interpersonal communication patterns (Hackman & Johnson, 2009). Kid President changes organizational structure throughout his campaign by reconfiguring the societal norm role of a leader to be young and reducing the hierarchy of the organization toward equality to create an understanding that everything is possible and to accept unconventional methods to yield unconventional results. Kid President changes organizational processes throughout his campaign by pushing communication through various types of media to every person to reengineer jobs to be responsible for the whole project rather than a portion of it. . Kid President changes interpersonal communication patterns throughout his campaign by expressing himself through verbal and nonverbal language of his confidence and appreciation of his powerful message and his powerful followers.
There are many types of leadership and followership to fit different situations but in the case of creating a vast ripple effect of a simple message, the superleadership style like Kid President uses proves to be most effective. Personally, I believe the applications of superleadership can be very useful for everyone, followers and leaders, to understand the style dynamics to best work with it. Followers must gain independence under superleadership and leaders must undertake the fact that they did not lose followers but empowered them enough to empower themselves.
Hackman, M. Z., & Johnson, C. E. (2009). Leadership and Power. Leadership: a communication perspective (5 ed., pp. 155-159). Long Grove, Ill.: Waveland Press.
Kid President. (n.d.). Wikipedia. Retrieved January 22, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kid_President