April 22, 2009

Leader and Follower

After today's discussions in the class on definitions of leadership there were many questions in my head unanswered as my friends in the class gave tough arguments on whether the word FOLLOWER should be included in the definition of leadership.

After the arguments thoughts which revolve around in my mind are:

Is being a follower a bad thing? should the term follower be considered as a negative term? can or cannot a follower go against his leader? does being a follower means he cannot challenge the leader if he is wrong? does the follower has the right to say his thoughts? is the follower bound to follow his leader irrespective to what he thinks is right or wrong? is relationship between leader/follower is like of a master/servant or owner/slave? do followers have the freedom and independence to express themselves or are they compelled or forced into decisions? is follower just a human resource which can be used in what ever required?

In the blog entry main stress is laid on followers but the truth is leader and follower goes together without follower the leader cannot be defined. Followers choose their leaders.


- 4 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Well.. I believe that the conflict about “follower” was due to the negative impression we always have about the term in the our mind (just like the term “risk”). Being a follower does not necessary mean being led unconsciously and without thinking. As much as we can have “effective leadership”, I believe we can have “effectiver followship” (if the term is correct), and have the effective followers in a team is very essential for effective leaders… An effective follower is a self-aware person who knows ones limit, and knows how to challenge what he/she thinks is wrong and support what is right. I think that an effective follower should have the same charactaristics as the effective leader… and this person is the one that will be leading later on.

    22 Apr 2009, 23:45

  2. I think it was just different perspective of the word followers. When I first read your definition I got it completely different from the way that you guys had defined the word followers. In my mind, and obvious wrongly, I had the word followers as the people who will just follow the leader without asking why, without challenge him/her and without having the strength or the permission to criticize the leader.

    The reason I thought of the words followers like that is because I have seen people thinking that leadership should be about that. Unfortunately, from my little experience I have seen leader/managers, thinking that the “followers”/ employees should just follow orders and nothing else; and I also know that in some cultures someone don’t have the permission to challenge the leader. After your team’s and Paul’s explanation, that followers are not necessary synonym of “sheep” and you don’t mean it that way, I totally got your point.

    But I think the problem is that some people, really see the leadership that way…….. and also followers hide behind their leaders and do not take responsibilities for their actions. Probably it is a matter of culture and character and maybe in some occasions the way that things are “being done”.

    22 Apr 2009, 23:46

  3. I totally agree that the term “fllowers” adds significantly to a list of questions and might actually create a lot of confusion. I am glad to see that especially the the two main critics from todays in-class session agree on this now ;)

    I support your statement that without followers there can be no leader, Raval. For me, too it the aspect of followership is a rather gray area and maybe this might be a good topic for a seminar? We could discuss the aspects mentioned above and any other questions / concerns arising from this matter.

    23 Apr 2009, 01:27

  4. I agree with you all guys and I would like to add the 5 types of followers that our colleague Robert posted in our forum:

    1. Isolates
    2. Bystanders
    3. Participants
    4. Activists and
    5. Diehards
    Dubrin: Leadership: Research Findings, Practice and Skills (6th Edition)

    23 Apr 2009, 19:11


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