The Leader – Follower Partnership: It’s a New Day
explains why the leader-follower relationship is an important area of research in context of the Irish civil service, offers a definition of the leader-follower.  Gilbert and Matviuk state that within a leader-follower relationship The leader-follower “enables followership to contain, within its definition. When the topic of management comes up, the thought of a leader and what defines a good leader comes up. The first thought is for the.
It seems a better return on investment to increase training budgets for followers and decrease the far more generous training budgets for the relatively few leaders. In our experience, it is the follower who often contributes directly to organizational success.
There's the rental car counter employee who is so pleasant and cheerful that he has developed a following. There's the municipal arts employee who philosophizes, "It takes just 10 percent more effort to get to a 'yes'" and causes the organization to receive accolades for innovative programs. There's the engineer who risks his job by speaking candidly to the firm's president about problems in the field.
Through articulating the desired characteristics for successful followership; by training, coaching and mentoring for successful followership; and by rewarding successful followership, organizations will become more successful. What's wrong with being number two?
The Meaning & Impact of the Leader-Follower Theory as It Relates to Management & the Workplace
The "number two person" is a legitimate role and a potential career ambition; it is not merely a stepping stone to the top job.
In a discussion with a client about succession planning, the president told us his number two person was not yet ready for the top job. Something left us unsettled about that comment. We had partaken in the same conversation several times over the last few years and it occurred to us that this vice president would probably never be ready for the top job.
In fact, he was outstanding as a number two person. We voiced that thought to the president and, after some deliberation, he agreed. That experience got us thinking. Therefore, the effective follower is one who is willing to be candid with the leader; the number two person often fulfills that role.
Effective number two people possess the analytical ability of the leader and exhibit the ability to size up a situation and recommend a course of action. However, they may or may not have the courage or the ability to implement the recommendation. Regardless, they can be of significant benefit to the leader. Fulfilling this number two role requires a high level of knowledge, skills and abilities. Rather than be seen as second rate, as is typical in many cases, or be seen as stuck in a holding pattern while waiting for promotion to the top spot, the number two person should be viewed as vital to the organization.
The number two role may well be a worthwhile and fitting career objective for many. Many people possess the insight and intelligence to lead, but lack the inclination or desire to direct and make decisions. Rather than viewing this as a weakness, we would do well to utilize these strengths in partnership with the leader.
We should salute the number two person instead of looking down at him or her, for without a number two person, there may be no leader.
Leader-Follower Theory and the Transformational Organization – The Success Coach
Leader-follower collaboration is key. Leaders and followers are more similar than different, and would do well to act that way. Goleman, Boyatzis and McKee described followership as the mirror image of leadership. Raelin cited a number of studies that point to a false dichotomy between leaders and followers. Amar described leadership and followership as intertwined concepts that cannot be separated from one another.
In fact, the practice of Japanese business schools is to teach leadership and followership as two integrated facets Amar, In practice, the distinction between leaders and followers appears small. Authors and consultants have exaggerated the differences between these two societal and organizational roles. To optimize effectiveness, leaders would benefit from "stepping down" and demonstrating greater collaboration, while followers need to "step up" and assert greater leadership.
Perhaps a new model for the leader-follower interaction would be helpful. Consider the following three stages of a given project or assignment completed by a leader and a follower: Beginning stages of a project or assignment.
The leader and follower roles differ significantly in the initial stages of a project. The leader should provide direction in the form of scope, objective, expectations, limitations and guidelines while the follower should ask questions to ensure understanding and should contribute to the project or assignment definition as appropriate. Middle stages of a project or assignment.
The leader and follower roles exhibit greater similarities during the middle stages of a project. This is where the bulk of work occurs. Leadership should shift, based upon who possesses the appropriate knowledge or expertise. With egos in check, leaders should permit, and even encourage, followers to initiate ideas and opinions.
With cowardice in check, followers should exert leadership by offering ideas and opinions. If leader and follower can fulfill these new roles, a high degree of collaboration will occur and project success will increase.
Final stages of a project or assignment. In this stage, leader and follower roles again differ. It is up to the leader to define the end of one project and the beginning of the next. For optimal learning, leader and follower might collaboratively engage in a "lessons learned" dialogue. Followership has minimal following. Unlike leadership, followership has no widely recognized theories providing a roadmap for followers to guide their behaviors.
Most everyone can spout the major leadership models and concepts that have been espoused over the past several decades. Those in a leadership or supervisory role can tell you about situational leadership, participatory leadership, inspirational leadership, innovative leadership, delegation, empowerment, commitment and reward.
On the other hand, few can identify a followership model or can speak to the characteristics of effective followers. With all of the training programs on effective leadership, it is odd that leaders are not taught models of effective followership. By knowing the kinds of characteristics sought in followers, the leader can look for, develop and reward those qualities.
The power of the leader follower relationship
Summary Although business and society place leaders on too high of a pedestal and followers on too low of one, in reality, the differences between leaders and followers are far less than many suggest. Comprehending a greater understanding of the leader-follower relationship affords societies, organizations and leaders the opportunity to capitalize on the capabilities of their followers.
Furthermore, utilizing the knowledge, skills and abilities of followers increases the potential performance and potential success of all parties. Societies, organizations and practitioners alike must seek to incorporate the dexterities of leaders and followers at the appropriate times to maximize effectiveness and reap beneficial rewards for all parties involved in the organization.
About the Authors Don Grayson has consulted with management on topics of individual and organizational effectiveness since He currently maintains his own consulting practice. A licensed psychologist, Don's areas of expertise include team building, meeting facilitation, executive coaching, psychological assessment for selection and promotion, degree feedback for individuals and teams, leadership training and the management of organizational change.
Additionally, he co-developed the Professional Development Report, a computer generated report of an individual's personality characteristics and their application in the workplace. Don holds a B. Don can be reached at dongrayson aol. Ryan Speckhart obtained his B. Ryan has worked in the areas of program development and assessment, individual assessment and training and development. And the organization, if it wishes to be sustainably successful, has an equal obligation to create the environment for them to safely do so.
No matter how much partnership and empowerment there is, the CEO has ultimate authority and responsibility. The most capable team members fail when they gripe about their leader but do not say or do anything to help him or her improve or get back on track.7 Curious Facts Your Appearance Says About You
To do this requires both courage and skill. The movement away from command and control leadership has brought new leadership styles that are more democratic and coach-like. There are also new ways of interacting in the follower role. Setting aside possible aversion to the term, the new flatter business organization requires more responsible followers and more follower-friendly leaders.
Managing the Boss It is difficult to appreciate the pressures on the leader unless you have had that position. While ego-strength is a quality to be desired in a leader, it can be overly reinforced and transformed into ego-driven. The pressures at the top need to be managed. Courageous followers help leaders stay on track and manage their decision-making processes in the right direction.
Responsible and effective followers have a critical role in maintaining the desired partnering dynamics. Many executive team members do some of these things quite naturally. But often they are hesitant to speak up when the leader makes mistakes, whether they are made from the best of intentions or the worst. This has led to a relationship in which the follower avoids jeopardizing their chances of obtaining these rewards.
Hence, the follower tends to do what the leader wants and, just as important, not offend or create a negative impression of themselves. A relationship based on this kind of power does not serve the organization, the leader or the follower because it shuts down the open flow of communication and candor a leader needs in order to optimize their effectiveness. After all, who will tell the emperor he has no clothes? Chaleff sees a very different kind of relationship between leader and follower.
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.
Being aware of all the facts or data is crucial for effective decision making. And yet, in too many situations, followers are reluctant to present negative information for fear of repercussions.
And why, in those situations, did people not step up and state their misgivings? In an environment where the focus of both leaders and followers is on serving the purpose of the organization these problems are far less likely to occur.
In such an environment, followers would be giving full voice to their concerns and instincts and leaders would welcome, value and pay attention to them. The Job of Effective Followers The sooner we recognize and accept our powerful position as followers, the sooner we can fully develop responsible, synergistic relationships in our organizations. According to Chaleff, there are three things we need to understand in order to fully assume responsibility as followers. Understand our power and how to use it.
As followers, we have far more power than we usually acknowledge. We have a unique vantage point as follower or team member, but we have to know that and use it. We need to understand the pressures upon the leader that can wear down creativity, good humor and resolve.
Work toward minimizing the pitfalls of power by helping the leader to remain on track for the long-term common good. We are all witness to how power can corrupt, and it takes courage and skill to speak up. We can learn how to counteract the dark tendency of power. Feedback to the leader is necessary for the new leadership styles to be effective. The Five Dimensions of Courageous Followership Chaleff identifies and defines what is required of followers to become an equal partner with the leader in fulfilling the purpose of the organization.
The Courage to Assume Responsibility — Courageous followers assume responsibility for themselves and the organization. They do not hold a paternalistic image of the leader or organization, nor do they expect either to provide for their security and growth or give them permission to act. They initiate values based action.
The Courage to Serve — Courageous followers are not afraid of hard work and they assume additional responsibilities to unburden the leader and serve the organization. They are as passionate as the leader in pursuit of the common purpose.