Leadership and Followership Essay

Words: 3975
Pages: 16


There is no leader without at least one follower. Yet the modern leadership industry, now a quarter-century old, is built on the proposition that leaders matter a great deal and followers hardly at all.
Good leadership is the stuff of countless courses, workshops, books, and articles. Everyone wants to understand just what makes leaders tick—the charismatic ones, the retiring ones, and even the crooked ones. Good followership, by contrast, is the stuff of nearly nothing. Most of the limited research and writing on subordinates has tended to either explain their behavior in the context of leaders’ development rather than followers’ or mistakenly assume that followers are amorphous, all one and the same. As a
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1. Types of Followers
Several writers have tried to categorise followers into different types. Robert Kelley describes five types:
Alienated Followers are independent, critical thinkers; but low on active engagement. Although members of the group they do not participate, are critical and cynical. They are free thinkers.
Conformist Followers (Yes People) are actively engaged but are not independent thinkers. They like to be told what to do and will defer to the leader.
Passive Followers (Sheep) are dependent upon the leader to do the thinking, are uncritical of the leader or the group’s actions and are passive participants, going along with the group.
Pragmatist Followers (Survivors) somewhat independent in their thinking and active engagement. They are measured and limited in their criticism of the leader.
Exemplary Followersare independent critical thinkers who engage actively in the group. They can be relied upon to give constructive, critical input and to act on their own initiative.
Ira Chaleff describes five types:
The Partner is highly supportive of the leader yet will also challenge and question the leader’s behaviour and policies. Chaleff identifies this follower as displaying the characteristics of a Courageous Follower.
The Implementer can be relied