Leadership is often attached to the role, while it is the common convention the matter of the fact is that it is more of a trait and the character that can be shown at any level irrespective of the role.
I am a big fan of driving the team building and leadership skills from Cricket, the article, however, is not about the Leadership qualities or traits, it is about the Leading Second, which means the Leadership in tandem. I derive this idea from one of the favourite sports-Cricket, where the roles of Captain and Vice Captain are key to the team. In order for the strategies to work well it is much needed for Captain and Vice-Captain to work in tandem and here the Vice-Captain supports and believes in Captain’s instincts and views to an extent that they both think exactly same way and share the same vision. The teams who fail to sync these two roles do not succeed and spoil the team spirit, the classic examples is that of India in the times of Sunil Gavaskar/Kapil Dev and Pakistan in the times of Waqar Younus/ Wasim Akram.
Taking the same analogy to the corporate world it is important for each of the roles to have a captain and vice-captain and that is not attached to leadership role alone as I mentioned above. So in a Technical team, we can have one main developer (Sr Developer/Team Lead) and one supporting him, not that other developers do not play any role but these two team members can be the face of the technical team. This enables that the ideas are validated among these two, gives shared vision and also helps have a backup at any given point of time. While having the backup is a common practice within the teams, what is missed is the level of overlap and we often end up with a gap in the crisis situations. The situation applies to other roles as Manager and leadership roles. We have often heard of making your role redundant, this is in line to what I am trying to put, in a sense that the two parties are totally in sync driving redundancy, in this case it also creates a healthy atmosphere in the team and confidence in the minds of customers.
As rightly said “It takes Two to Tango” and the concept can do wonders if these two people work hand in hand.
While it might feel that the role of the p, in this case, s more responsible to create that kind of equation, it is not to be ignored that it would be often the second leader in charge who has to be in supporting role just enough to make sure the key leader focuses well on what he is trying to achieve for the team and any gap is filled with the secondary leader while executing strategies and if the combination of this “Jodi” is perfect they two can interchangeably play each others role and I am taking of Leadership as trait here. Classic example is what we have often seen when Sachin/Sourav or Sachin/Sehwag use to open for India, if we closely look at the pattern , if one attacks the other defends, if one is having problem facing a particular bowler other takes more strikes and so is in the case of bowling often seen, one of the creates pressure by drying up the runs and other focusses on taking wickets, making look the other one look beautiful while executing.
Was once hearing Harsha Bogle sharing his experience in one of the Management Institutes on how he coming from non-cricket background was able to successfully commence his commentator innings. What he shared was, when he joined initially the commentary box with likes of Jeff Boycott, Ravi Shastri etc he had two choices whether to compete with them and be first or be seconds, and he realized that how useful he could be by supporting these cricket greats by some of the data, asking interesting questions and his management(marketing) practices and make them look beautiful and derive more value for the viewers.
It is often also the second person or the company just next to the leader that follows and believes in leader drives the others to believe that idea of the leader is being supported and that develops the feelings in others to follow as well.
The point I derive is one “Leadership in Tandem” can often work wonders if we know “When to act seconds and when to be primary in leadership” and act as a Jodi.