Not everyone gets to be a leader, and most leaders are also followers in their own right. The project manager follows instructions from the project sponsor, the CEO from the board, the politicians from the polls, and so on.
Followership is the yang to leadership’s yin, and according to many interesting sources following can be as fulfilling and important as leadership. For example, check out this site: http://www.exe-coach.com/followerPartnership.html. Quoting: “When both the leader and follower are focused on the common purpose a new relationship between them arises. This new relationship is candid, respectful, supportive and challenging. It is a relationship that honors open communication, honesty and trust from both parties.” The article argues that effective followership is the key to making today’s flat organizational models successful and mitigating risk of corporate malfeasance and scandal.
Think about it: more people are followers than leaders, so isn’t it more important to cultivate effective followership than effective leadership?
Bob: great reference. This is a topic I’ve thought about a good bit. I’ve noticed, as the author mentioned, the tendency to treat leadership more like a parent-child relationship than as folks in a different, but not necessarily more valuable role.
Got me thinking – maybe one of the keys to progressing to a leadership role is understanding that dynamic?
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