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How Emergent Leadership Can Help Your Team Thrive

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How Emergent Leadership Can Help Your Team Thrive

Think of every group project you’ve been in – whether in high school, college, internship, or other.

Often, someone would naturally take the reigns without being officially appointed as the leader – that’s called emergent leadership and it’s something you may want to leverage in your professional life.

Learn the key characteristics of emergent leadership, examples of it in daily life, and the benefits of this approach.

Emergent leadership allows the right leader to be elected once they have demonstrated their potential in group settings. This will be someone who has earned the respect and trust of their colleagues and are able to inspire them.

Too often, companies bring in new leaders and there’s a big adjustment period. They may struggle with communication, understanding their teams’ values, establishing trust, or a number of key elements needed to propel a team forward.

This approach democratizes leadership by letting employees make key decisions regarding not only their leaders but also their projects. As a result, you can get employees who are more invested in the company and serve as its champion.

Promoting emergent leadership within your team is all about fostering an environment of collaboration and ownership. As a manager, you will serve as a resource while allowing your team to take the lead.

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By creating this environment, your direct reports will feel comfortable bringing their full selves to work and take the lead whenever their skills align.

To recap, emergent leadership:

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  • Promotes ownership and independence over one’s work.
  • Fosters a collaborative environment.
  • Can create a more cohesive team.
  • Prevents bottlenecks by empowering employees to be decision-makers.

Emergent Leadership Characteristics

Wondering how to identify a leader within your organization? Here are some key traits to look for.

Influential

A key characteristic of any leader is someone who is capable of impacting someone’s character and/or behavior.

Look for comments from team members like “X suggested this approach,” and “After speaking with X, I…” – Statements like these demonstrate the impact that someone has on other members of the team.

Reliable

If anything, a leader should be reliable as it’s key to building trust. It means you rely on that person to be consistent and dependable. Whether that’s in their work, communication, or another format.

How do your direct reports show up for others? Do they provide resources? Are they available to mentor? Do they follow through? If the answer’s “yes,” you’ve got a reliable person on your hands.

Inspiring

A great leader helps others feel they are capable of more. When you’re evaluating your staff, an emergent leader is someone who brings fresh ideas and perspectives, cheers others on, and is always striving to improve.

Collaborative

Emergent leadership can only happen in a collaborative environment. Look for people who celebrate new perspectives, create space for others, and invite knowledge exchanges.

Emergent Leadership Examples

The most popular example of emergent leadership comes from the famous medical TV drama, “Grey’s Anatomy.” In one episode, residents were tasked with solving a difficult case together. The goal was to help them work better together but also see who would naturally emerge as the leader of the group.

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The most extroverted person in the group often seems like the obvious choice but that’s not always the answer. Just like in real life, the emergent leader in the show was the one who displayed an ability to listen, delegate, make decisions, and inspire confidence from others.

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Now back to real life.

Photo app VSCO is one company that leverages emergent leadership to encourage brand champions in its own employees.

According to its former VP of People and Places, Katy Shields, the brand believes that giving up control early on in the company’s growth can help it self-correct in the face of adversity.

Back in 2015, Laszlo Bock, former SVP of People Operations at Google explained how Google tackled this.

He said, “What we realized…is that giving up power is just as important to leadership as seizing power.”

Assigned leadership is the straightforward approach most organizations take. However, emergent leadership could prove to be more effective.

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MARKETING

Old Navy to drop NFTs in July 4th promo update

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Old Navy to drop NFTs in July 4th promo update

Old Navy will update its yearly Fourth of July promotions by saluting the metaverse with an NFT drop, going live June 29.

In honor of the year they were founded, the retailer will release 1,994 common NFTs, each selling for $0.94. The NFTs will feature the iconic Magic the Dog and t include a promo code for customers to claim an Old Navy t-shirt at Old Navy locations or online.

“This launch is Old Navy’s first activation in web3 or with NFTs,” an Old Navy spokesperson told MarTech. “As a brand rooted in democratization and inclusivity, it was essential that we provide access and education for all with the launch of our first NFT collection. We want all our customers, whether they have experience with web3, to be able to learn and participate in this activation.”

Accessible and user-friendly. Any customer can participate by visiting a page off of Old Navy’s home site, where they’ll find step-by-step instructions.

There will also be an auction for a unique one-of-one NFT. All proceeds for the NFT and shirt sales go to Old Navy’s longtime charitable partner, Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Additionally, 10% of NFT resales on the secondary market will also go to Boys & Girls Clubs.

Support. This activation is supported by Sweet, who’s played a major role in campaigns for other early NFT adopters like Burger King.

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The Old Navy NFTs will be minted on the Tezos blockchain, known for its low carbon footprint.

“This is Old Navy’s first time playing in the web3 space, and we are using the launch of our first NFT collection to test and learn,” said Old Navy’s spokesperson. “We’re excited to enable our customers with a new way to engage with our iconic brand and hero offerings and look forward to exploring additional consumer activations in web3 in the future.”

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Read next: 4 key strategies for NFT brand launches

Why we care. Macy’s also announced an NFT promotion timed to their fireworks show. This one will award one of 10,000 NFTs to those who join their Discord server.

Old Navy, in contrast, is keeping customers closer to their owned channels, and not funneling customers to Discord. Old Navy consumers who don’t have an NFT wallet can sign up through Sweet to purchase and bid on NFTs.

While Macy’s has done previous web3 promotions, this is Old Navy’s first. They’ve aligned a charity partner, brand tradition and concern for the environment with a solid first crack at crypto.


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About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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