In the past, people followed you because you had authority. In the future, they will follow you because you are an authority.
Leadership has always been about authority, but there are two kinds of authority.
In the past, you had authority – because of your title, your seniority, your age, or the connections in your network. Now, although those things still count for something, they aren’t the most important thing.
Instead, now people respect you because you are an authority. In other words, they respect you for what you know and who you are.
Leadership now is not just about the organisational structure. It is not even about the organisational structure turned upside down. Leadership is about being followed because you are an authority, and leading by leveraging the power of the individual. It’s much more collaborative and facilitative.
This also means everybody is a leader. You don’t have to wait to be asked, to be told, or to get permission. When leadership is about being an authority, not having authority, everybody can grasp that opportunity to be a leader.
The Internet has given us all the power to demonstrate our expertise, wisdom, insights and experience – and that’s what makes you an authority. If you can do that, then you will attract followers. And that’s the first requirement for being a leader.