Followership and Leadership

TABLE OF CONTENTS
ASTRACT/EXECUTIVE SUMMARY……………………………………..3
INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………
………4
IMPORTANCE OF FOLLOWERSHIP TO LEADERSHIP………………..6
HOW LEADERSHIP IS DEVELOPED IN FOLLOWERS………………..7
RECOMMENDATIONS…………………………………………………
….8
CONCLUSION……………………………………………………
…………10
REFERENCES……………………………………………………
….….….12
Abstract / Executive
There is a dynamic association of support and mutual benefit between a
leader and followers. Both the leaders and followers need each other and
the organization or cause for which they come together requires them
both. Therefore, it is critical for an organization to consider both in
realizing its goals. Some people tend to think that leadership is more
essential than followership hence, they focus on improving the
leadership without giving any attention to followership. Despite of its
immense relevance to leadership, followership has been rarely discussed
when organizations seek to better their outcomes (Kelley, 1992).
Instead, the focus usually turns to the development of leadership skills
in order to realize desired outcome. In instances, where leadership is
given a first priority and followership never given any emphasis, the
achievements of a leader are likely to be meager however, giving
followership the first priority is likely to lead to the success of the
organization since followers are essential in determining whether to
follow a leader or not. In case, followers decide not to follow a
leader, it can be exceedingly difficult for an organization to achieve
its goals since the leader is incapacitated to perform without the
presence of followers (Kelley, 1992). Therefore, followers are the chief
determinants of an organization’s success however, leaders should not
be left out since an organization still needs them. Hence, both leaders
and followers need to be considered an essential component of an
organization there is none, which is less valuable than the other since
their inputs are of immense importance. Thus, they are equally vital. In
order to establish a strong relationship amid leaders and followers, it
is vital to ensure the guidance of certain elements such as flexibility,
intuition and positive reinforcement.
This assignment is going to discuss the topic of leadership and
followership the paper will start with an introduction, which will
present the background information regarding leadership and
followership. After the introduction to the topic of discussion, the
paper will then highlight and discuss the importance of followership to
leadership. Besides, the paper will also discuss leadership development
in followers. It is after this, that the paper will provide
recommendations regarding the issue of leadership and followership. The
conclusion will follow, which will give a summary of the primary ideas
presented in the paper concerning the discussion of leadership and
followership. The paper will then provide a list of references utilized
in writing the paper.
Leadership and followership are two elements that cannot be separated
once leadership lacks followership, it would exceedingly difficult to
have leaders. Therefore, leaders need followers. This implies that every
leader must show effective leadership so as to have followers. For any
organization such a school, business or any institution there must be
an excellent relationship between leadership and followership in order
to achieve success. Failure for having an excellent leadership and
followership is a guarantee for failure in any organization. Followers
are likely to follow a leader that establishes three vital criteria.
First, the leader must establish the reasons why he legitimately is cast
in the leadership position, or why he is a credible authority figure for
a group of possible followers. Secondly, a potential leader needs to
convey to the followers that his leadership will be fair and just with
no oppression to the persons in the follower group. Thirdly, a potential
leader must make a convincing case that loyalty to his leadership will
be a requirement for fellowship. Through undertaking the three vital
steps, follower cohesiveness can be created by a few actions. The
strengthening of the relationship amid the leader and followers can be
achieved through increasing similarity while reducing diversity.
Followers will always need to feel like they are in a family therefore,
the increase of similarity between the leader and followers helps in
strengthening the association. Besides, exploiting synchrony is a vital
factor in strengthening the relationship of followers.
Followership is as vital as leadership. In most cases, individuals
mistake a follower for a subordinate (Alcorn, 1992). However, this
should not be the case for a leader. A subordinate refers to a person in
an inferior position through a hierarchy, and is expected to obey all
the commands from the individual in a leadership position. Therefore, in
the relationship of a leader and subordinate, the leader has authority
to command the subordinate. On the other hand, a follower is a person
that is ready to follow a leader because he wants to do so without the
need of commands. In the relationship between a leader and a follower, a
hierarchical structure may be present but a follower follows a leader
because he wants and not because it is a must. There must be a healthy
relationship between a leader and a follower followers need leaders
and, at the same time, leaders need followers. This indicates that both
leadership and followership are essential. Followers have their own
needs, which need to be satisfied in order to maintain their association
with the leader when their needs are not satisfied, they seize to
follow and become leaders. Leaders encounter different types of
followers, which include alienated, conformist, passive, pragmatist,
and exemplary followers. Alienated followers are usually independent and
critical thinkers but are low on active engagement. Conformist followers
are not independent thinkers and are actively engaged they like being
told what to do by the leader. Passive followers are uncritical to a
leader or the actions of the group and are passive participants that go
along with the group. Pragmatic followers are independent in their
thinking, but limited in their criticism of the leader. On the other
hand, exemplary followers are independent, critical thinkers that
actively engage in the group. These can be relied on to give
constructive input and act on their own idea.
Importance of Followership To Leadership
Because of the definition of the term followership, the term has been
associated with stigma and everyone wants to be a leader and not a
follower. Followership refers to the capacity of effectively following
the directives and supporting the efforts of a leader in order to
maximize a structured organization. This term is usually related with
demeaning and negative words such as passive, conforming, and weak.
According to Alcorn (1992), followers have been devalued and the word
conjures up inauspicious images for several years. Due to this
stereotyping, people have avoided being classified as followers. There
is a misconception that leadership is more essential than followership.
There is always an assumption that good followership entails doing what
one is told besides, there is a notion that effective accomplishment of
tasks is as a result of good leadership. This ignores the critical role
of followers. Organizational literature has been full of studies
discussing leadership characteristics, which depicts the belief that bad
or good leadership is largely associated with an organization’s
outcome. Despite of its immense relevance to leadership, followership
has been rarely discussed when organizations seek to better their
outcomes. Instead, the focus usually turns to the development of
leadership skills in order to realize desired outcome. Much attention is
usually paid to what elements make a leader successful since the
thinking is that as the leader succeeds, so will the organization.
However, this perspective ignores the fact that followership is
exceedingly critical since leaders need followers in accomplishing their
goals.
It seems ironical that most organizations tend to focus on leadership in
order to realize the required outcome rather than considering the role
played by the followers. The effectiveness of a leader is dependent, to
a great extent, on the consent and willingness of followers. In fact,
without followers, it is not feasible to have leaders. Active
followership implies that the authority of the leader has been accepted
giving legitimacy to the course and vision of a leader. Leaders cannot
perform their roles effectively without the ears, eyes, hearts and minds
of followers. Besides, leaders can only accomplish something through the
permission of followers. In the past, followers were not deemed to have
a critical role to play in making a leader perform however, with the
current situation where followers have access to information,
followership is considered to play a critical role in the accomplishment
of organizations’ goals. Leaders are now not the exclusive source of
crucial information, which implies that it is not possible for leaders
to expect followers to follow blindly (Seteroff, 2003). Most leaders
have realized that it is fundamental to develop the skills of followers
in creating high performing organizations. It is more probable that
organizations with leaders, who do not focus on developing their
followers, may not become competitive in the future. It is essential to
have an excellent supply of talented followers with the increasing cost
of intellectual capital. Therefore, effective followership is critical
for the success of any organization since followership influences the
achievement of an organization. For an organization to succeed in its
goals, it needs to consider both the importance of leadership and
followership. It is most likely that organizations, which take an open
and honest look that both leadership and followership are of
importance, achieve immense success since followers determine the
success of a leader.
How Leadership is Developed in Followers
In case one desires to become a great leader, it is vital to become a
great follower first. Through being a great follower, it is easy to
learn leadership qualities in a leader. A great follower can be
described through various characteristics. One of such characteristics
is being obedient. As a follower obeys, he shows that he is ready to
give instructions that he can follow. Without obeying, it will be
exceedingly difficult to become a leader since a person cannot give
instructions that he cannot obey (Riggio et al, 2008). Besides, they
need to first become servants great followers are usually observant.
Through their observation, they are capable of developing leadership
attributes since they learn what leaders do besides, through observing
and doing what leaders want them to do, they develop knowledge regarding
a certain role, which they can guide others in doing. As a leader leads,
he should be capable of developing leaders in followers. This can be
achieved through guiding the followers appropriately in acquiring
values, traits, and virtues. Traits describe the habitual patterns of
behavior, thought and emotion, which are considered relatively stable in
individuals across circumstances and over time. While leading, leaders
should develop followers in acquiring good traits this helps followers
to be future leaders. Although traits are not fixed, excellent leaders
always adopt the best qualities (Seteroff, 2003). On the other hand,
leaders should develop leaders from the followers by helping them
acquire values and virtues of leadership such virtues include humility,
integrity, humanity, collaboration and justice. In order to become a
leader, it is vital to learn followership. Through studying
followership, individuals learn what followers need and the kind of
leaders that followers follow. This is critical in the development of a
leader since a leader is capable of identifying the needs of followers
and understanding the leadership qualities that followers are attracted
to therefore, the best way to develop leaders is by developing
followers.
Recommendations
In order to build a strong relationship between leaders and followers,
it is critical to ensure the guidance of certain elements such as
flexibility, intuition and positive reinforcement. Leadership needs
leaders to have flexibility since leaders will be required to deal with
the unexpected. While some leaders are prone to uncompromising, rigid
plans, others usually realize that planning entails a continual process.
The capacity to flex is usually the difference amid a manager and a
leader. Managers have set rules and routines by which issues are
governed however, leaders learn to live in an ever changing
environment. Leaders should have the capacity of searching for solutions
outside the box, when confronted with issues. When leading followers,
leaders need not dwell on finding solutions based on past experiences,
but should focus on dealing with emerging situations through applying
new strategies that can help deal with the emerging situations. Rigidity
in solving the unexpected is a common problem, which spoils the
relationship amid followers and leaders. Leadership involves a complex
undertaking, which requires steadfast determination. With such a
resolve, followers can have assurance and a secure path to pursue when
accompanied by thoughtful flexibility. Rigid adherence to an idea
coupled with the unwillingness to change has led to a myriad of
leadership failures (Meindl & Shamir, 2007). Therefore, a leader needs
to have some strategic adjustments in order to deal with issues this is
critical to the maintenance of an excellent relationship amid a leader
and followers. Finding a proper balance between flexibility and
inflexibility is not a simple task but an essential one.
Intuition is also another element that leaders should consider, when
dealing with followers. When assessing followers, it is critical to
ensure that leaders use intuition for example, when organizations seek
to hire employees, it is always good to use intuition since a leader may
make hire candidates that look excellent on paper, but poor in
performance. In such a scenario, a leader may make use of intuition,
where he can make a decision not to hire however, this can depend on
the leader’s capacity to sense followers. The collaboration,
partnering and negotiating is likely to depend on the capacity of a
leader to sense followers. Besides, followers can also use intuition in
assessing whether to follow a certain leader. Through the use of
intuition, followers can be capable of sensing whether to collaborate
with a given leader. Therefore, through the use of intuition
non-collaborative associations amid a leader and followers can be
eliminated.
On the other hand, positive reinforcement is also critical in ensuring
that there is an enhanced collaboration amid the leader and followers.
Positive reinforcement entails the practice of giving rewards in order
to strengthen a good conduct. Positive reinforcement should be used by
leaders in strengthening the conduct of followers that are encouraging.
Recognizing and rewarding desirable conducts of followers is a key
element in motivating followers. Positive reinforcement is crucial since
it enhances swift, thorough learning. This implies that the leader will
not need to use a lot of time in teaching followers what to do since
through the use of positive reinforcement, followers become motivated to
learn. Besides, positive reinforcement makes followers continue doing
good. In addition, positive reinforcement is essential since it ensures
an excellent collaboration between a leader and followers, and makes
followers become more committed to their responsibility than before.
Conclusion
An excellent association amid a leader and followers is critical in
ensuring that an organization attains its goals successfully.
Followership plays an exceedingly vital role in realizing the goals of
an organization since the effectiveness of a leader is dependent, to a
great extent, on the consent and willingness of followers. In fact,
without followers, it is not feasible to have leaders. Active
followership implies that the authority of the leader has been accepted
giving legitimacy to the course and vision of a leader. Despite of its
immense relevance to leadership, followership has been rarely discussed
when organizations seek to better their outcomes. Instead, the focus
usually turns to the development of leadership skills in order to
realize desired outcome. There is always an assumption that good
followership entails doing what one is told besides, there is a notion
that effective accomplishment of tasks is as a result of good
leadership. This ignores the critical role of followers. Much attention
is usually paid to what elements make a leader successful since the
thinking is that as the leader succeeds, so will the organization.
However, this perspective ignores the fact that followership is
exceedingly critical since leaders need followers in accomplishing their
goals. Followership is critical since leaders can only accomplish
something through the permission of followers.
Besides, the development of leaders can be best realized by developing
leaders from followers. Individuals, who have been once followers fit
best as leaders since they understand what is required of leaders and
what followers need in a leader. This is crucial in making a good leader
since the leader can be in a position to lead and meet the needs of
followers. Through followers observation, they are capable of developing
leadership attributes since they learn what leaders do besides, through
observing and doing what leaders want them to do, they develop knowledge
regarding a certain role, which they can guide others in doing. In order
to build a strong relationship between leaders and followers, it is
critical to ensure the guidance of certain elements such as flexibility,
intuition and positive reinforcement.
References
Alcorn, D.S. (1992). Dynamic followership: Empowerment at work.
Management Quarterly, 33, 9-13.
Kelley, R. E. (1992). The power of followership: How to create leaders
people want to follow, and followers who lead themselves. New York:
Doubleday/Currency.
Meindl, J. R., & Shamir, B. (2007). Follower-centered perspectives on
leadership: A tribute to the memory of James R. Meindl. Charlotte, NC:
IAP.
Riggio, R. E., Chaleff, I., & Lipman-Blumen, J. (2008). The art of
followership: How great followers create great leaders and
organizations. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Seteroff, S. S. (2003). Beyond leadership to followership: Learning to
lead from where you are. Victoria, B.C: Trafford.
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