In the FOLLOWERSHIP of Leadership, a SPONGE is not RUBBER.

A SPONGE reacts by soaking challenges; a RUBBER responds by repelling and hardening.

Leadership often faces storms that come from all angles, some predictable, most are not, yet so there are two ways leaders can be affected; as a SPONGE or as RUBBER.

FOLLOWERSHIP is a subject that speaks of leadership from a follower’s perspective, highlighting that every leader has leaders they follow and those that follow them too.

In the development of FOLLWERSHIP, there are distinct attributes that come out separating the behaviour of a Sponge from that of a Rubber.

In leadership, it is preferred to always be comfortable in discomfort than to be comfortable in comfort; thus the distinction between the Sponge and the Rubber.

When uncomfortable situations hit, the Sponge falls prey to the weakness of its nature, whilst the Rubber rises to the occasion of its own nature.

The Sponge always takes the defeated stance during the storm, whilst the Rubber is victor even when it seems like loss; DNA.

Reacting and Responding

When a storm comes, a Sponge leader “reacts” to the weight of the water and wind by soaking itself in the same.

When a storm comes, a Rubber leader “responds” to the weight of the water and wind by repelling the same.

REACTIVE leaders, like sponges, are often affected by storms as they would not have prepared themselves from possible effects of rainmakers and moody clouds.

RESPONSIVE leaders, like rubbers, are always on the ball with the movements of storm clouds or the rainmakers themselves, and even though they may face the storm, they are often not affected much.

Leadership, in all walks of life, has rainmakers and moody clouds, and the prepared leader is always on the watch, but sadly most leaders fall prey, as much as they may love movements of change.

It is within the nature of a Rubber to harden when hit by waves of water; it is in the DNA of a Sponge soften when the same penetrates.

The substance and attributes that makes up a Sponge in leadership is gentleness, flexibility, and cooperative all the way, with comfort.

The substance and attributes that makes up a Rubber in leadership is limited gentleness, not that flexible, able to bend but not all the way, yet possessing firmness.

In leadership, storms must come, as they are the test of the leader, the institute, and its followers as well.

Ducks and Eagles

Storms are what distinguish ducks from eagles, just as they do sponges and rubbers.

When the storm comes how the Sponge and the Rubber are affected is evidence of their tenacity, and how they manoeuvre during the same is the default coding of their DNA as leaders.

Whilst the Sponge refuses to accept the power of the storm, stagnates, making noise like the duck; the Rubber accepts and changes position, keeping silent and finding comfort in the strength of the moment like the eagle.

It were better that one be a chicken that does not make noise but is just fed, a duck has to go the extra mile in not being able to fly as high as an eagle during a storm, but refuses to move by making noise as well.

Storms for the eagle are like a full house breakfast, the eagle focuses and consumes them, enjoying the moment by changing position from that of defeat to that of victory.

The FBI Virus

Sponges often fall prey to leadership illnesses such as the FBI Virus, whilst the Rubber does not.

The FBI Virus is a serious, yet subtle virus that grips any wronged or misguided human – spouse, parent, worker, entrepreneur, and even political leader. 

There is an emotional sickness that we need to rid ourselves, parents, and leaders – the Fear Bitterness and Insecurity Virus. 

The fear of uncertainty, coupled with the bitterness of the storm, adds to the insecurity that causes the Sponge to react to the effects instead of responding to the same.

Leadership Equity

Many leaders often that storms are like auditing of a company and how they fair affects their Balance Sheet, especially their Social or Leadership Equity.

There comes a time when the leader goes through a Social Audit (storm), whether self-commissioned or not, and it often comes as a storm of opinion, amongst many modes in public spheres. 

When a Social Audit arises, its objective is to declare the company solvent or involvement to be a going concern that meaning the name of the person is at stake causing effects that will result in a rise or a fall.

It is the nature of a Sponge to fold and have tantrums, that affecting its Equity as a leader; as the Rubber steadies on and accumulates more Equity from the same circumstance.

Corporate Sponges and Rubbers

Indigenisation in Zimbabwe has exposed Sponge and Rubber CEOs, seeing plenty that have reacted and lost, and those that have responded and gained over the decades.

Reactive founding CEOs have lost shareholdings to their institutions, whilst Responsive founding CEOs have retained and grown their holdings.

Concluding remarks

Two people can fall in a lake of sewage; one reacts to the smell with disgust, the other smiles and dreams of a methane gas project; Sponge is not Rubber in leader.

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