The study in to the area of followership has been overshadowed by leadership for many years, and continues to lack in research studies to examine this important topic. American culture may be partly responsible for “follower” having a negative connotation. Sayings like “always a leader, never a follower” help to reinforce this idea. Leaders are looked upon as an elite class, while followers are viewed as people who did not achieve.
Servant-leadership is widely researched and discussed from a secular and Christian worldview (Fischer, 2010; see also Blanchard & Hodges, 2005). A Christian is called to follow God in all he does but life experiences can be conflicting in dealing with the spiritual and secular context; however, Christ wants his followers to operate within the context of the secular world. True servant-leadership is to emulate how Jesus led those around him - with complete selflessness and by serving others. Moreover, it is challenging for humans to be servant-leaders as they often desire
The book, Followership How followers are creating change and changing leaders, by Barbara Kellerman, publisher Harvard Business Press details an interpretation of followers with his or hers correlation to their managers. Kellerman portrays through her book from the leader-centric approach, which govern work on supervision and leadership. However, the book describes examples how a leader typically have power, authority, and influence over a stakeholder in settings of public, private and non-profit organizations sectors (Kellerman, 2008).
In followership there needs to be a leader that inspires and bonds followers together as a unit moving in one direction. Today’s leader has to be more than someone that was placed in a position of authority, a person with a title and a higher salary level. A real leader is found when the behaviors and attitudes of their
1. When discussing leadership and followership, there is often a split in personal opinion when it comes to which one is more important. Leadership and followership both offer unique benefits in their own right and have supporting factors, which give them the perceived appearance of being more important. The focus for this paper will be to advocate the importance of followership over that of leadership. This will be accomplished by addressing the pros of followership to include some core skills of followership and the effects followership has on the development of a leader. The expectation of an officer however, places a high amount of emphasis on leadership more so than that of followership. Given this perceived importance of leadership as an officer, an effective leadership style will be explained and how officers develop this particular leadership style. While leadership has a distinct presence within the professional work environment, followership is considered the underlying backbone in developing an effective high performing team.
Based on what I learned from the Leadership and Followership module, the one concept that is most important to me is Followership because Jesus invited his disciples to “Follow me,” not to “Come lead in my name,” and in a world preoccupied with leadership, what should we make of that invitation? Taking a look at the example He left for us, it fits right in line with the definition of followership from the lesson: One in service of another; one that follows the teachings of another; one that imitates another. Think of the impact we would have on our subordinates, peers, and supervisors if we all followed that example of followership.
The contents and assignment in this course has helped me understand the various theories of leadership and how different leadership styles can have a negative or positive effect on followers and organizations. The leadership theories helped me understand the concept of leadership better because it educates me on the different leadership options that are available. Leadership and followership is not based on specific characteristics. Leaders must draw from things and approaches to find the right style. A follower’s attitude determines the way a leader leads. According to Johnson (2011) “Being a good follower means ensuring your boss is supported, but only if he is making optimum decisions”.
Phillip, I enjoyed reading your post and like to follow-up what you stated. Leadership is a well-studied topic and it is correct that the focal point in the leader follower/dynamic. However, “a rose by any other name is still rose”; individuals who follow are also called; Christians, disciples, brothers, sisters, groups, teams, people, and the list goes on. It can also be argued that that followers have been around for a long time just called by another name. Hence, Vugt (2006) argues that whenever a group of people come together, leader – follower relationship naturally develops (p. 354). Therefore, whatever the group of individuals are called it can be acknowledged that the focal point in the leader/follower dynamic
I never considered the word follower this deep. When I think of what a follower does I automatically think in terms of being a Christian and following the word of the Lord. A website that I went to had a blog post called, The Seven Types of Followers. The author writes about the seven types: “Loyalists-The genuine supporters, Sycophants-The flatterers, “yes people”, Critics-The opposition, Opportunists-The freebooters, Spectator’s- do their job nothing else, Traitors-The silent haters and conspirators, and Realists-provide constructive critical thinking and interact with the group and the leader.” (Hyacinth, 2014).
The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said that,” A leader is best when people barely know he exists; when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” (Shinagle, 2013). The importance of a leader in among people cannot be underestimated. The paradox of Lao Tzu’s words is only an indication of how someone who is traditionally inclined to be at the helm of affairs is subdued and assumes the position of the least represented. To be a leader, Robert GreenLeaf said, a person must be servant first. (Greenleaf, 1970). A servant leader is arguably a person who seeks the welfare of his followers first before his own welfare. That selflessness is characteristic of most servants who do their best to make sure their superiors are satisfied. Servant leaders have the same attitude towards their followers; except they do it willingly and are not usually coerced.
Followers are given full authority for decision making and leader just pose as observer in the group. Follower should decide their own goal and ways for solution on their own. Thus they are required to be experienced and highly trained in order to achieve the effective outcome.
Finding a leadership style is like finding the dress or suit that fits just right. It may take several attempts, but once you find the one that fits, it is usually the one you will keep. For this class, we were asked to take a 50 question survey from Kent University to help us figure out what type of leadership style fits us best. From the results provided from the test, my leadership style was typed as participative. When reading more about participative leadership, I saw a quote I was able to resonate with completely, “The leader makes the final decision, but the team to contribute to the decision-making process” (How to find, n.d.). This quote made me realized that this type of leadership fit me down to the T. In terms of effective communication, I always make an effort to make sure the listener absolutely understands what I am conveying. By asking questions or bringing up any concerns they might have, I am able to make sure that everyone is on the same page. My job presents several opportunities to help teach and train new operators. By having a participant leadership style, I must ensure new operators know how to work within their position proficiently. As a trainer, I deal with trainees who at times feel overwhelmed with the plethora of information given to them. I find it important to give encouragement and facilitate training when need be. Being a participant leader requires a great of humility: “The leader can 't know everything”
Effective followership is an essential component of effective leadership in that, without good followers, the leader’s work is difficult and cumbersome. The role of the follower is many times understated. As illustrated by Kelley (1998), “effective followers are thinkers; energetic and assertive, self-starters, independent problem solvers, and carry out their tasks with these characteristics (p. 143). Effective followers also are characterized by their ability to perform tasks with little supervision, their intelligence, and ability to think for themselves. We are all followers, even those who consider themselves leaders; so to encourage this effectiveness in others; we must be role models for those under us, so that they may also be effective at following. Chaleff (2009) observed that “all important social accomplishments require complex
Leadership has been around for many years yet, still unable to contain it in a particular definition everyone agree on. There are numerous effective leadership styles used in the organization to achieve their goals. “Leadership is becoming increasingly recognized as a crucial issue for organizations facing change in a complex and volatile environment.”(Higgs 2009, p. 165) The leader is the person who can guide and inspire others to do things according to their needs with the success of the group as a goal. “Leadership may be considered as the process of influencing the activities of an organized group in its efforts toward goal setting and goal achievement.” (Stogdill 1950, p. 3) If the team led by powerful leader, it is most likely that the team will be able to meet the goals as well as their purpose and success.
Riggio, R., Chaleff, I., & Lipman-Blumen, J. (Eds) (2008). The Art of Followership How Great Followers Create Great Leaders and Organizations. San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass.