The Art of Followership puts dynamic leader-follower interaction at the forefront of discussion. It examines the multiple roles followers play and their often complex relationship to leaders. With contributions from leading scholars and practitioners from the burgeoning field of leadership/followership studies, this groundbreaking book outlines how followers contribute to effective leadership and to organizations overall.
Drawing from various disciplines?from philosophy, to psychology and management, to education?the book defines followership and its myriad meanings. The Art of Followership explores the practice and research that promote positive followership and reveals the part that followers play in setting the standards and formulating the culture and policies of the group.
The contributors include new models of followership and explore fresh perspectives on the contributions that followers make to groups, organizations, societies, and leaders. The book also explores the most current research on followership and includes insights and perspectives on the future of leader-follower relationships.
Table of Contents
- Foreword by James MacGregor Burns (read)
- About the Contributors
- Introduction by Warren Bennis (read)
- PART ONE: DEFINING AND REDEFINING FOLLOWERSHIP
- Rethinking Followership (Robert E. Kelley)
- Leadership: A Partnership in Reciprocal Following (James Maroosis)
- Three Perspectives on Followership (Jon P. Howell and MarÃa J. MÃ¡ndez)
- A New Leadership-Followership Paradigm (Ernest L. Stech)
- Followership: An Outmoded Concept (Joseph Rost)
- Creating New Ways of Following (Ira Chaleff) (read)
- Rethinking Leadership and Followership: A Students Perspective (Krista Kleiner)
- The Hero’s Journey to Effective Followership and Leadership: A Practitioner’s Focus (Gail S. Williams)
- Courageous Followers, Servant-Leaders, and Organizational Transformations (Linda Hopper)
- Followership in a Professional Services Firm (Brent Uken)
- Developing Great Leaders, One Follower at a Time (Rodger Adair)
- Getting Together (Gene Dixon)
- Following Toxic Leaders: In Search of Posthumous Praise (Jean Lipman-Blumen)
- What Can Milgram’s Obedience Experiments Contribute to Our Understanding of Followership? (Thomas Blass)
- What Kind of Leader Do People Want to Follow? (Michael Maccoby)
- Bystanders to Children’s Bullying: The Importance of Leadership by “Innocent Bystanders” (Lorna S. Blumen)
- Whistleblowing as Responsible Followership (C. Fred Alford)
- Followers’ Cognitive and Affective Structures and Leadership Processes (Robert G. Lord)
- Social Identity Processes and the Empowerment of Followers (Michael A. Hogg)
- Lead, Follow, and Get out of the Way: Involving Employees in the Visioning Process (Melissa K. Carsten and Michelle C. Bligh)
- Effective Followership for Creativity and Innovation: A Range of Colors and Dimensions (Kimberly S. Jaussi, Andy Stefanovich, and Patricia G. Devlin)
- Conformist, Resistant, and Disguised Selves: A Post-Structuralist Approach to Identity and Workplace Followership (David Collinson)
- The Rise of Authentic Followership (Bruce J. Avolio and Rebecca J. Reichard)
- Table of Contents
- Foreword by J. MacGregor Burns
- Introduction by Warren Bennis
- Featured Chapter
- Review by Robert Morris
© 2008 by Ronald E. Riggio (Editor), Ira Chaleff(Editor), and Jean Lipman-Blumen (Editor). All Rights Reserved; Jossey-Bass, an imprint of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 1st Edition (January 2008). Language: English
ISBN-13 & ASIN Codes
Hardcover (416 pages)
Foreword by James MacGregor Burns
We have been brought up as schoolchildren to think of leadership as only the realm of heroes and devils—as in the lives of Caesar, Napoleon, Churchill, the three Roosevelts, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and the like. The people—the voters, the masses—provided only a vague background. But if you define leadership as the mobilization of followers who then become leaders of the original leaders, and if you measure these mobilizations by the harsh tests of moral and ethical values, you begin to understand the complex processes of leadership. You can see Franklin Roosevelt, for example, as a president who entered office without a comprehensive program, then mobilized a desperate people who demanded action, people who in turn forced the administration to fashion the “Second New Deal of 1935,” which embodied FDR’s lasting leadership.
Sometimes, when I contemplate the endless complexities and mysteries of leadership, I try to simplify its essence by imagining the following: a candidate for local office spots a possible supporter across the street. She crosses over to ask for his vote. He asks her about an environmental issue, she responds, and he promises his support. A reporter happening on the scene might dismiss this as a quick-fix deal. But a student of leadership should see this episode as reflecting a far more complex set of phenomena: their backgrounds and attitudes, the social and political context, and the other factors ranging from the immediate and practical to the psychological and ideological. But the student should note too that the candidate crossed the street, initiating the engagement.
Thirty years ago, I wrote that “one of the most serious failures in the study of leadership has been the bifurcation between the literature on leadership and the literature on followership.” Surely, I added, it was “time that the two literatures” be brought together, “that the study of leadership be lifted out of the anecdotal and eulogistic and placed squarely in the structure and processes of human development and political action.” Making this linkage has proved exceptionally difficult. Dealing with the complexities — the multiple roles of leaders and followers in diverse polities, the intersecting as well as the clashing of leadership cultures, the traps inevitable in “toxic” or “bad” leadership, the potential of leadership created or undermined by benign or hostile forces, and above all the moral and ethical values that penetrate (or should penetrate) leaders’ decision making — this type of challenging question faces students and practitioners of leadership. I know of no work that faces this challenge so well as The Art of Followership. I expect it to be a landmark work in the complexities of the leader-follower dynamic.
Introduction by Warren Bennis
Who is not fascinated by the dance between leaders and followers, who depend on each other as surely as animals and air? But until recently, followers have been largely neglected in the study of leadership, an omission famously addressed by contributor Robert Kelley in his 1988 Harvard Business Review article In Praise of Followers. Now, almost twenty years later, we have this welcome book, a long overdue exploration of leadership’s underappreciated complement in all its complexity, as role, relationship, and process. It is no surprise that books on leadership, promising to reveal the secrets of countless football coaches and historical figures as disparate as Moses and Attila the Hun, outnumber those on followership several thousand to one. After all, leadership is the prize that ambitious men and women have struggled and even died for at least since Alexander the Great. Whether their field is politics, business, science, or the arts, leaders are at the center of the action, the envied if not enviable stars whose lives seem to burn a little brighter than our own. We aspire to their power and its perquisites even as we take unseemly pleasure when one of them stumbles and falls. Indeed, the moment when each of us realizes he or she is mostly a follower, not a leader, is a genuine developmental milestone; who forgets that painful leap over the line of demarcation between the boundless fantasies of childhood and the sober reality of an adulthood in which we will never quite become the god we hoped to be?
Reading the diverse essays that make up this valuable book, I was reminded how hollow the label of leadership sometimes is and how heroic followership can be. As coeditor Jean Lipman-Blumen and other contributors point out, followers play an especially vital role in the presence of “toxic leaders,” those malignant wielders of power who have made the last century the bloodiest in all of humanity’s decidedly sanguinary history. When evil leaders emerge, followers have no moral choice but to try to wrest power from them. Such behavior is usually termed resistance, but it is in fact a heroic form of action. Moreover, this honorable rebellion reflects an underlying truth. Yes, leaders have enormous power, but so do those who follow them. Without their followers, tyrants can accomplish little. Even toxic leaders sleep and are subject to other human constraints, so they depend on others to wield the gas, the guns, and the machetes. For better or for ill, followers do the heavy lifting of any successful enterprise. No matter who is memorialized as founder, no nation or organization is built without the collective effort of a group of able, energetic, unsung followers. Moreover, the led bear the brunt of the horrors conceived by toxic leaders. While their nations reeled, many of the most notorious despots of modern times spent their last days in luxurious exile, sleeping on Frette sheets.
In organizational life, the consequences of toxic leadership are less obvious but no less dire. In recent years, we have seen more and more examples of courageous followership, as nameless, faceless shareholders rebelled against arrogant, underperforming executives when their corporate boards failed to do so. The last couple of decades have served as a corrective to the once widespread view of the CEO as demigod. Our recent disillusionment with much corporate leadership is the cumulative effect of too many insider stock trades, too much executive venality, too many $6,000 shower curtains. As executive compensation packages began to approach the size of the budgets of some countries, observers began to wonder if they had not given too much of their own power over to those at the top. The cult of the celebrity CEO gave way to a renewed appreciation of the leader as steward of the collective treasure of his or her followers.
A gathering of research such as this not only reminds us of the importance of followers but also emphasizes how blurred the line is between leaders and those they lead. When followers check the power of their leaders, they clearly function as leaders themselves, albeit less well paid ones. And whether by augmenting the actions of their leaders or conscientiously challenging them, followers both advance the collective enterprise and polish their own leadership skills, a fact neatly reflected in the title of Rodger Adair’s chapter, Developing Great Leaders, One Follower at a Time.
One of the most important —and potentially perilous— arenas for follower action is within the organization. We tend to value the leader who acts decisively, whether right or wrong, but followers are expected to behave with more restraint. Too often a follower who dares to poke holes in a leader’s plan is seen as a maverick at best, a troublemaker, even a lunatic. But such internal critics are invaluable, the people most likely to save the organization from wasting time and resources on a doomed product or project. Historians tell us that George Washington routinely solicited the advice of subordinates before going into battle, unlike his tradition bound British counterparts. And in order to elicit candid feedback from his men, Washington did not tell them that a particular plan under consideration was his own. Washington had an intuitive understanding of what good followers bring to the table. Sadly such understanding is rare. Most of us can tick off the attributes of a great leader, but the nature and functions of a great follower are little understood and almost never articulated. Too often, followers are expected to be agreeable and acquiescent and are rewarded for being so, when in fact followers who practice knee-jerk obedience are of little value and are often dangerous.
If I had to reduce the responsibilities of a good follower to a single rule, it would be to speak truth to power. We know that toxic followers can put even good leaders on a disastrous path —Shakespeare’s Iago comes immediately to mind. But heroic followers can also save leaders from their worst follies, especially leaders so isolated that the only voice they hear is their own. When the leader cannot be persuaded, the follower is sometimes forced to break the collective rules and become a whistleblower, a kind of rogue leader, driven by conscience, who borrows the power of the media and often pays a terrible personal price for doing so. But the most effective followers are those who possess or acquire the skills that allow them to make their case and effect change without damaging the organization. One important function of a book like this is to get more people thinking about how to create and become great followers, especially in light of the fact that we spend much of our lives in that capacity, whatever exalted titles we may hold. The tools of great followership are not so different from those of leadership, including the ability to persuade. In fact, given that followers usually lack the power to order and insist, they are wise to acquire a quiver of diplomatic tools, including an expansive knowledge of the psychology of human behavior and mastery of such neglected persuasive arts as rhetoric and acting.
In many ways, great followership is harder than leadership. It has more dangers and fewer rewards, and it must routinely be exercised with much more subtlety. But great followership has never been more important, if only because of the seriousness of the global problems we face and the fact that they must be solved collaboratively, not by leaders alone but by leaders working in tandem with able and dedicated followers. No single leader, however brilliant, however charismatic, can solve the problem of climate change. It can be addressed only by millions of creative, passionate individuals who know they must act now, no matter what their leaders tell them.
In fact, I will go out on a limb and predict that a decade from now, the terms leader and follower will seem as dated as bell bottoms and Nehru jackets. The world is changing with dizzying speed, and among those changes is an erosion of traditional notions of leadership. What does leadership mean in a world in which anonymous bloggers can choose presidents and bring down regimes? When John F. Kennedy ran against Nixon, his biggest challenge was mastering the relatively new medium of television in order to win the presidency. But the days are gone when a leader’s rise to power is linear and relatively orderly. Today, power is being democratized by new media that spread ideas virally and can topple the established order without violence or manifesto. Today a teenager with a camera phone may be more powerful than a politician who spends decades acquiring his or her position. Not traditional leaders, but people whose fingers are on the send key rule this brave new world. Agendas are being set, sometimes with murderous seriousness, sometimes whimsically, by global networks of people who effect change without meeting anywhere except in cyberspace. Recently, a virtual journalist interviewed a virtual U.S. congressman on a computer-generated set in Second Life, the electronic playground where real fortunes are being made and alternative futures explored. Whatever else transpires in the next ten years, it is safe to say that we will have very different notions of leadership and followership, if only because each of us will be able to peek into and expose any corner of an increasingly wired world, upending any current notion of what constitutes the status quo.
Let me make one more prediction. One of the pleasures of this book is its references to the discoveries about how humans influence each other (the beating heart of leadership), made by such pioneering social scientists as Solomon Asch, Stanley Milgram, and others. Each age has its paradigmatic science, and none is more important today than neuroscience. I am sure that generously supported researchers are even now using functional magnetic resonance imaging to explore how leaders and followers think. The best of that work will be a worthy addition to the insights offered by this volume.
- Table of Contents
- Foreword by J. MacGregor Burns
- Introduction by Warren Bennis
- Featured Chapter
- Review by Robert Morris
Warren Bennis (1925-2014)
Pioneer of the contemporary field of Leadership studies
Warren Bennis Books Series
Warren Bennis Books (Wiley) are devoted exclusively to new and exemplary contributions to management thought and practice. The books in this series are addressed to thoughtful leaders, executives, and managers of all organizations who are struggling with and committed to responsible change.
About The Art of Followership
In 2006, I was the catalyst for the first national conference on followership conducted by The Kravis Leadership Institute at Claremont McKenna College and the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at Claremont.
For two days, the air bristled with the excitement of healthy contradictions, constructive controversies, alternative concepts, and potential strategies for drawing a new treasure map, this with “Followership” clearly marked as “ground zero.”
Researchers, scholars, and practitioners from diverse disciplines and fields created a heady conversation, and it became evident that a new subfield was emerging, one that could be shared with a much larger audience than the inaugural followership conference could possibly accommodate. This book is the first major outcome of that ground-breaking conference.—Ira Chaleff
The Art of Followership is a collection of essays that puts dynamic leader-follower interaction at the forefront of discussion. It examines the multiple roles followers play and their often complex relationship to leaders. With contributions from leading scholars and practitioners from the burgeoning field of leadership/followership studies, this groundbreaking book outlines how followers contribute to effective leadership and to organizations overall.
Drawing from various disciplines from philosophy, to psychology and management, to education the book defines followership and its myriad meanings. The Art of Followership explores the practices and research that promote positive followership, revealing the part that followers play in setting the standards and formulating the culture and policies of the group.
The contributors include new models of followership and explore fresh perspectives on the contributions that followers make to groups, organizations, societies, and leaders. The book also explores current research on followership and includes insights and perspectives on the future of leader-follower relationships.
Creating New Ways of Following
Section 1 of Part 2: EFFECTIVE FOLLOWERSHIP
(Page 65 to 71)
It is one thing to write about the need for more attention to followership. It is another to give it this attention in professional training programs and in corporate culture change efforts. In this part of the book we examine several efforts to do just this.
These examples are chosen not because of their proven record but because they represent early efforts to effectively introduce the subject of followership to individuals, groups, and organizations. The authors share their reasons for focusing on followership to support other core values and change efforts, and their experiences with creating new awareness and skills.
The effort to promote individual and group development in any field is greatly assisted by models that help those engaged in the effort understand existing styles and behavior, their consequences, and options for making different choices. In this section we introduce several additional models for describing follower behaviors and the intricate relationship of followership and leadership.
Our purpose in this section is to stimulate thinking about how to introduce the concepts of effective followership, regardless of the model or synthesis of models one chooses. What are strategies for building support for an empowered style of followership? What are pitfalls that must be avoided? What techniques can help followers and leaders perform these roles differently as they occupy and move between them? How can they build the needed skills for true partnership? What are the types of outcomes of these efforts?
Earlier this year, I was invited to present the annual ethics lecture to the Graduate School of Public Accounting at the University of Wisconsin. At the end of the talk, one of the many very bright students asked a question that stopped me for a long moment. Having read of my motivation to have an impact on this deadly historic dynamic, he asked, How could I spend my energy teaching followership in business settings? What does one have to do with the other? A challenging question, indeed. Yet I think there is an answer, and the answer may lie in other categories in Kelley’s schema—for example, his categories “follower qualities” (How are they shaped by parents, by teachers, by peer pressure, and so on?), “culture and followership,” and “language and followership.”
Let me, for a moment, take one of the most extreme examples of “dark” leadership and followership of our time. If you have not seen the documentary footage of Saddam Hussein assuming power in Iraq in 1979, I recommend that you do. It is harrowing. The footage is of a room of senior Iraqi army officers, perhaps several hundred, in auditorium seating. On the stage is Saddam, smoking a large cigar and jesting from time to time with a couple of aides. Armed guards ring the room, presumably the only ones in the room carrying weapons.
Saddam gives a tearful speech about how various officers in the room have betrayed him. One by one their names are called out. Each is immediately escorted out of the room to be shot. It is the classic act of a dictator consolidating power, much as Adolf Hitler consolidated his power in the “night of the long knives.” Both acts were taken right out of Machiavelli’s counsel in The Prince.
The rest of the officers in the room are frozen in their seats. Mature men at the peak of their careers, colonels and generals, frozen into inaction. You can feel the terror coursing through them and their shame and relief each time it is someone else’s name that is called. Several dozen officers are singled out before the process is complete and the remaining officers reaffirm their undying fealty to Saddam.
It is not hard to put yourself in that auditorium and to imagine your own instinct to survive. To have stood up in protest when it was clear what was occurring would surely have resulted in immediate death. And not just to you, but in all probability to your entire family, as that was Saddam’s vicious “insurance policy.” So you had only two choices: acquiesce or effectively commit suicide and worse. The choice made was to acquiescence, and the consequence of this collective silence was Iraq’s being subjected to two decades of terror by a ruthless brute and his sadistic sons, suffering tens of thousands of deaths by torture and millions by unprovoked war.
In the context of what we are trying to achieve in this volume, we must ask a question: What would be needed to create a third choice in the face of such brutal, perverted leadership? I believe the answer to that question takes us back to Kelley’s other foci and suggests a response to my thoughtful interrogator at the University of Wisconsin.
Imagine if you lived in a culture that placed the highest value on human dignity and standing up firmly against oppression. Imagine that this value was as central to this culture as being a fearless warrior is in certain other cultures. In this culture that we are imagining, parents and teachers would be alert for instances of legitimate confrontation from children about their elders’ arbitrary use of power (not to be confused with illegitimate manipulation by the children) and support this. In this culture, language would evolve to hold such meanings as “tolerating oppression equals cowardice,” “leadership means stewardship of your followers’ interests and dignity,” “followership means partnering with leaders to achieve worthy ends.” The culture would reinforce these values with rites of passage for appropriately exercising the power of followership. Awards and honors would be given at graduations not just for leadership, but also for constructive dissent. This culture would hold that to die opposing oppression was an ultimate act of heroism and to live by acquiescing to oppression was a mark of shame difficult for a family to erase.
In such a culture, what chance would Saddam have had that day had he tried to convert his administration into a terror machine? The first senior officer to stand in protest would be immediately supported by scores of his peers. As a unanimous group or an overwhelming majority, they would order the guards to refuse Saddam’s orders. The guards, raised in the same culture, would immediately recognize their higher responsibility to support the officers. Saddam as a would-be tyrant would be nipped in the bud. If he had genuine leadership skills, he would have to apply these to decent ends through decent means or forfeit his right to lead.
But how is such a culture created? And how many generations does it take? No one has done it, so no one knows. But that should not stop us from holding a vision of its possibility and sowing as many seeds as we can to bring about that vision. Where and how should those seeds be sown?
To some degree, that is the function of this book, to ask and begin to answer these questions. As Robert Kelley has noted, we will have to dig deeply into the culture and address issues of language, child rearing, and values. My own work has centered around bringing new ways of following to those who work in hierarchical organizational structures, whether military, ecclesiastic, bureaucratic, educational, corporate, or the like. So this is the level of cultural impact I will focus on.
Large organizations, both commercial and public, are among the prime engines of contemporary culture. Every time we sow seeds among individuals and groups within these organizations, we are sowing the seeds for a culture in which people stand up for what is right. We are sowing seeds to support leaders who are trying to improve some aspect of the human condition. The fruit of these seeds will displace cynicism, which undermines leadership and is the bane of collaborative effort. We are also sowing seeds to constructively confront leaders whose actions are impeding the improvements the group seeks. By doing this we are reducing the personal and cultural weight of “authority” that has paralyzed us in the face of titles, uniforms, and the power to hire and fire. We are creating new norms of behavior based on mutual responsibility for the mission and respect for core human values.
Thus we walk down from the lofty goal to create a better world and address what can realistically be done now that will, over time, contribute to that world. We equip people with the mind-set and skills to energetically support positive leadership at all levels and to talk back constructively to these same leaders when necessary. If enough people are so equipped, one day we will reach a tipping point in which this becomes expected behavior.
But how do we equip people? How do we reach Joe Ordinary and Sally Everyday to inculcate these ideas for use in their workplace, with their families, in their civic groups, and in their houses of worship? How do we engage them as walking ambassadors for a new way of following so that one day it may become the given way?
In my book The Courageous Follower, I present a new model of followership and give many examples of how this role might be performed in different circumstances. What that book does not do is draw on my decade of experience in conducting training programs to help followers at frontline and middle levels of organizational activity reconceive the power and responsibility of their role. Therefore, I will use this chapter to share some of the lessons I have learned about helping group members reconceive the follower role and develop the skills that the enhanced concept of that role requires. It is my hope that those who read this will adapt these strategies and tools to the realities of their own groups and continue to sow the seeds. I will mainly focus on approaches I have found useful in seminars and workshops, though these techniques can be adapted for use less formally in group discussions designed to foster change in the group dynamic and the follower-leader relationship.
Review by Robert Morris
“Candles” and “mirrors” in the contemporary workplace
This anthology brings together the essays of 31 contributors who participated in the Kravis-De Roulet Leadership Conference on February 24-25, 2006. The material has been co-edited by Ronald E. Riggio, Ira Chaleff, and Jean Lipman-Blumen; Chaleff and Lipman-Blumen are also among the contributors. To what does the title of this book refer? As with so many other significant human activities, there is both an art and a science to effective followership. Immediately opinions vary as to what is an intangible (e.g. mutual trust) and what is a tangible (e.g. shared tasks) in the relationship between a leader and a follower. I suggest that you ignore the title, not worry about differentiating tangibles and intangibles, and focus on what the book offers that is of specific interest to you and of greatest value to what you hope to accomplish.
The material is carefully organized as follows: A brief Foreword by James MacGregor Burns and then an Introduction by Warren Bennis. (More about Bennis’ remarks in a moment), followed by 23 “author chapters” that are divided within four Parts: “Defining and Redefining Followership” (Chapters 1-5), “Effective Followerhip” (Chapters 6-12), “The Pitfalls and Challenges” (Chapters 13-17), and “Followers and Leaders: Research and Practice, and the Future” (Chapters 18-23).
Many prominent business thinkers “mail in” material when asked to provide an introduction. Not so with Warren Bennis, as the following composite of brief excerpts clearly indicate: “It is no surprise that books on leadership, promising to reveal the secrets of countless football coaches and historical figures as disparate as Moses and Attila the Hun, outnumber those on followership several thousand to one. After all, leadership is the prize that ambitious men and women have struggled and even died for at least since Alexander the Great…When followers check the power of their leaders, they clearly function as leaders themselves, albeit less well paid ones…If I had to reduce the responsibilities of a good follower to a single rule, it would be to speak truth to power. [Note: “Speaking to Power” is the title of James O’Toole’s contribution to Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor co-authored by Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman, and O’Toole with Patricia Ward Biederman.] We know that toxic followers can put even good leaders on a disastrous path – Shakespeare’s Iago comes immediately to mind. But heroic followers can also save leaders from their worst follies, especially leaders so isolated that the only voice they hear is their own…In many ways, great followership is harder than leadership. It has more dangers and fewer rewards, and it must routinely be exercised with much more subtlety…I will go out on a limb and predict that a decade from now, the terms leader and follower will seem as dated as bell bottoms and Nehru jackets…the days are gone when a leader’s rise to power is linear and relatively orderly. Today, power is being democratized by new media that spread ideas virally and can topple the established order without violence or manifesto…Not traditional leaders, but people whose fingers are on the send key rule this brave new world.” Bennis thus sets the proverbial table for the wealth of information and opinions that others provide. Here are a few of several that caught my eye.
In “Rethinking Followership,” Robert E. Kelley identifies and then discusses five basic styles of followership: The Sheep, The Yes-People, The Alienated, The Pragmatists, and The Star Followers. Others may quarrel with such descriptives but Kelley’s key points when examining the field of followership in terms of seven topics (i.e. world events, culture, leader [ship], follower qualities, role of the follower, language of followership, and “courageous conscience”) seem eminently sound to me.
Ernest L. Stech explains what he has identified a “new leadership-followership paradigm.”
Joseph Rost asserts that followership is “an outmoded concept and explains why.
In an essay that I found especially thought-provoking and informative, Linda Hopper shares her thoughts about “courageous followers, servant-leaders, and organizational transformations.” On Page 118, she identifies five common barriers to engaging “disaffected, disgruntled, distrustful employees who appear reticent to make a commitment to and be accountable for work or decisions.” Courageous followership can help to lower (if not eliminate) these barriers. How? Hopper offers four suggestions: Seek ways to work for conjoint efforts toward common goals, see others as allies rather than enemies or even as opponents, see their own success as the goals of the organization become a reality, and recognize that their participation in successful change initiatives substantiates the belief that their efforts as well as collaborative efforts with others really can make a difference.
Another essay I thoroughly enjoyed reading is “Following Toxic Leaders: In Search of Posthumous Praise” in which Jean Lipman-Blumen shares several of the insights she explores in munch greater depth in her brilliant book, The Allure of Toxic Leaders: Why We Follow Destructive Bosses and Corrupt Politicians – and How We Can Survive Them. Obviously, there are toxic followers as well as toxic leaders in most organizations, with the major difference being that toxic leaders tend to do much more extensive damage. In this essay, she has much of value to say about how to differentiate “the exhilaration that comes from noble, life-affirming causes” that constructive leaders experience and the “excitement that flows from grand illusions that toxic leaders ask us to engage in or merely endorse.” (See Pages 192-193). She concludes with an admirable affirmation: “One answer to the human condition calls for freeing ourselves from anxious subservience to, as distinct from knowledgeable support of, [begin italics] all [end italics] leaders, not just the toxic ones. This coupled with the necessity to take action despite our fears, may be the best hope we have in the long run.”
About 75-80% of the material was of interest and value to me. However, I realize that that that can also be said of almost any other anthology of this scope and length. Moreover, what I found boring may be of great interest and value to others. So, I took that consideration into full account as well as my opinion of most of the material when determining my rating of this book. Those who are thinking about reading this book need to check out the table of contents as well as all of the reviews provided by Amazon.
I am grateful to Linda Hopper for providing the title that I selected for my review. It appears at the conclusion of her essay. “Edith Wharton wrote, `There are two ways of spreading light – to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.’ By being worthy servant-leaders and courageous followers, we bring light into our organization.” If Warren Bennis is right, and I am convinced he is, the day rapidly approaches when the terms “leader” and “follower” will be interchangeable because the most productive and most highly principled people will be both “candles” and “mirrors” when spreading the light that guides others.
To those who share my high regard for this book, I highly recommend the aforementioned Transparency as well as Barbara Kellerman’s Followership: How Followers Are Creating Change and Changing Leaders, Ira Chaleff’s The Courageous Follower: Standing Up to and for Our Leaders, Tom Atchison’s Followership: A Practical Guide to Aligning Leaders and Followers, Art Kleiner’s The Age of Heretics: A History of the Radical Thinkers Who reinvented Corporate Management, and Five Star Leadership: The Art and Strategy of Creating Leaders at Every Level co-authored by Patrick L. Townsend and Joan E. Gebhar.
The field of followership is still in its infancy. It is rare that people get a chance to build and shape a new area of inquiry. Collectively, we can grow the followership field so that it makes powerful contributions to society.
Robert E. Kelley
Professor, Carnegie Mellon University
Author, The Power of Followership and In Praise of Followership
The Art of Followership is actually quite different in presentation…. Some chapters are quite short; others describe individual programs as a springboard for talking about the phenomenon. But most are scholarly think-pieces that are quite conceptual.
My long-time collaborator James MacGregor Burns, who wrote the forward in this book, deemed it is a ‘landmark book in the complexities of the leader-follower dynamic’. I agree.
With contributions from leading scholars and practitioners, this book highlights the different models, perspectives, and meanings of followership.
T + D Magazine
The Art of Followership turns leadership books on their heads. As the authors argue, followership is more important now that it has ever been.
Andy and Patty share indispensable insight to leaders of innovative change in their chapter, Effective Followship for Creativity and Innovation.
How to Order