Essay #5: Leader-Follower Essay Leaders are to followers as binders are to paper. There are no leaders if there are no followers. Leadership does not exist if there is no one to lead. If there was no paper, there would be not use for binders, but without binders, paper is scattered and unorganized. What is a binder with no paper? Throughout Northouse’s Introduction to Leadership , he often speaks of followers as if they were somehow inferior to the leader. Northouse refers to followers as “subordinates,” a term that can be received as demeaning. When describing the authoritarian leadership style, Northouse states, “The creative and personal growth of subordinates may be hindered,” almost speaking as if followers are children and the leader is a parent (2012, p. 54). Northouse defines leadership as, “A process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal,” but then spends the majority of the text referring to followers as “subordinates,” and not emphasizing their importance (2012, p. 6).
Research Paper on Followership Brian Duncan BUSI 310 4 May 2011 Dr. Mark Ellis Abstract Followership is extremely important to the success of a corporation. Although leadership plays an important role, one should always remember that a leader needs someone to lead. This paper will take a brief look at what leadership is, what followership is, the important of trust, and how we can improve our ability to follow. In addition, the topic of Christians as followers will be discussed. Research Paper on Followership Followership is one of the most important roles inside an organization.
The following discussion aims to educate the reader on the importance of followership and how to become a better follower. It is important first to understand that followership cannot exist without leadership and trust. Understanding leadership is important because it has a close relationship to followership. A leader cannot be a leader without followers. Likewise, a follower cannot be a follower without a leader. It is important to note, however, that leadership is more than just making decisions or being the head of something. Effective leadership requires certain traits and characteristics.
Mary Frances Lyon, in her article Leadership and Followership. American College of Physician Executives, outlines a few critical traits of a leader. She states that a leader must project a vision, be a team builder, think strategically, understand systems, and be capable of reading market forces (Lyon, 2002, p. 1). Of course, there are many other traits that desirable in a leader such as the ability to manage, the ability to inspire, and the ability to tolerate diversity. Even with all these traits, however, leaders can easily go astray.
The story of the emperor who bought invisible clothing is “often used to illustrate how leaders can go astray” (Solovy, 2005, p. 1). Perhaps one of the biggest faults of the emperor in this story is that he has created an environment in which people fear to correct him, even when he embarrasses himself unknowingly. This is a prime example of why leaders need to create openness between themselves and their followers. This is often done by leaders practicing good followership themselves. Most crucial to this plan is the ability to instil trust. Trust is very important for both the leader and follower.
In fact, trust can be consider the glue that holds leaders and followers together, helping them successfully meet their end goals. Trust can be “defined as ‘Confidence in the integrity, ability, character, and truth of a person or thing’” (Allen, 2009, p. 1). In his article, Allen talks about the importance of trust in all of society. He relates to the medical field, particularly in the area of pharmaceuticals, and even in the area of our national leaders. He makes a striking conclusion that trust starts “at home, in our practice, our community, etc. nd continues all the way up to the highest offices of our land” (Allen, 2009, p. 1). With leadership and trust in mind, followership can be more easily understood. It has been shown that leadership and followership require one another in order to exist, they are codependent and coexistant. It has also been shown that trust is what allows leaders and followers to function together most effectively. The question remains what exactly is followership and how can someone become a better follower? Before these questions can be answered in details, the importance of followership must be shown in more detail.
This will help nurture an understanding of just how crucial it is that each person devout himself to becoming a good follower, even if he is already a leader. Hertig (2010, p. 1) notes that more often than not, success comes about due to good followers not leaders. Although this does not downplay the importance of having a good leader, it does significantly up the ante on good followers. In addition, Hall (2002) notes that one study concludes “that leaders contribute no more than 20% to the success of an organisation, while followers are critical to the remaining 80%” (p. 91). what does this show about the importance of followership in an organization? It is important to understand that followership is just as crucial as, if not more crucial than, leadership when building a successful organization. Knowing this allows one to take seriously the role of a follower and to truly understand what it takes to be a good follower. There are a number of traits that make up a good follower. Here are a few in detail. First and foremost, followers need to be able to self-manage. This includes prioritizing tasks, settings deadlines, getting things done the best way possible with the most efficiency.
Although followers don’t usually have to take control over an entire project, it is important that they know how to take control of their specific tasks. Bottom line, a good follower and focus and get things done. Next, followers need to be committed. A followers commitment must be to the organization and its needs. As Solovy (2005) states “Followership means commitment and engagement in the mission of the organization” (p. 1). By having a commitment to the organization a follower does what is best for the organization, perhaps even at the cost of himself.
One common mistake that organizations make is hiring people with a divided commitment, or no commitment at all. This is often the case in organizations that hire employees who work two jobs or have their own start up business on the side. For instance, a website development company might hire a part time website developer who also has his own business on the side. This will negatively impact the company because the newly hired website developer will not seek to increase company profit, sales, or client base because his interest is divided between the website development company he works for and the website development company he owns.
Another trait that is required of a good follower is personal development. Employers want employees that seek to develop their skills; whether interpersonal, technical, or both; on their own without a push from management. A good follower is always strives growth and looks to “build their competence and focus their efforts for maximum impact” (Hertig, 2010, p. 1). Two other important traits found in a good follower are communication skill and teamwork skills. The ability to relate, communication, and function with people one-on-one and in a large group settings is highly important.
Specifically, a good follower opens himself up to new ideas and is willing to both speak and listen when appropriate. Perhaps the most important characteristics of a follower can be summed as follows: There are three underlying traits of good followers: credibility, honesty and courage. They are the traits of the child in The Emperors New Clothes. If the kings advisers exhibited those traits, he would have been saved from a very public mistake. (Solovy, 2005, p. 1) When all three of these traits are found in a follower, the follower will find that he is always accepting responsibility (where applicable), telling the truth, and working hard.
These actions, and many others, are found daily in the life of a good follower. You may have noticed that many of the key traits of a follower are also key traits of a leader. This once again shows how closely intertwined leadership and followership are. In fact, a good leader also knows how to be a good follower and followers are always good leaders on a personal level. Understanding followership, however, is only half the battle of becoming a good follower. The question still remains, how can I become a good follower? J.
Hertig, in her article Followership: nontraditional leadership roles for new practitioners, presents seven ways to become a better follower. These seven practical tips really help to shape a person as a follower and better them each day. First, you should “Redefine followership and leadership” (Hertig, 2010, p. 2). By this Hertig suggests that you learn in every day life and the work environment when it is time to be a leader and when it is time to be a follower. Next, Hertig suggests that you maximize you strengths and work on improving weaknesses until they become strengths (2010, p. ). The key to this particular exercise is knowing yourself well enough to identify strengths and weaknesses. Thirdly, “Engage in continuous performance evaluation and honest feedback” (Hertig, 2010, p. 2). This exercise requires meeting with managers and colleagues to get feedback and assessments of how you are doing. Most importantly, this exercise shows that if you want to be a good follower you have to being to take constructive criticism. The last tip feeds right into the next one, which suggest getting a mentor. Mentorship is great because you can become an integral part of another’s professional journey. As a mentee, you are a true fol- lower; as a mentor, you are a leader. Both roles are critical. ” Hertig, 2010, p. 2). Next, he suggests that you continually look for opportunities to improve you skills and learn new things. This falls in line with the trait of personal development mentioned earlier. One of way of actively doing this is to build your professional network. In addition, attending seminars and conferences in your field or a related field is another way to ensure personal development continues.
The sixth tips Hertig gives is to always being analytic and innovative at the same time. Try and look at things from a nontraditional perspective or even a totally new perspective altogether. Having the ability to ask why isn’t something to underestimate. Hertig suggest that you “Always present solutions to problems” (2010, p. 2). This is especially important if you are the one who is picking on the problem or criticizing the original solution. Identifying problems in only half the battle and it never help if all you can do is identify but never solve.
Problem solving is a skill that builds respect and shows success. In addition to considering all of these things, Christians must also consider how important it is to be good followers from a biblical perspective. God has made it clear that Christian are here to serve others. One way of doing this is being a good leader that also knows how to follow. Christians must learn, not only how to follow God, but fellow brothers in Christ as well. It is important that they understand when it is appropriate to lead, to follow, or to just have faith God will take care of it.
Good followership skills are to being an effective witnes for God and showing his love to the world. As you can see, followerhsip is very important. Good followership is difficult to obtain. However, it is important to remember that the need for good followerships doesn’t erase the need for good leaders as well. In addition, trust has to be acknowledge as the center piece of leadership and followerhsip and their relationship together. References Solovy, A. (2005). Followership. H: Hospitals & Health Networks, 79(5), 32. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Lyons, Mary Frances (2002). Leadership and Followership. American College of Physician Executives. Retrieved from http://rx9vh3hy4r. search. serialssolutions. com/? ctx_ver=Z39. 88-2004=info%3Aofi%2Fenc%3AUTF-8=info:sid/summon. serialssolutions. com=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:journal. genre=article. atitle=Leadership+and+followership. jtitle=Physician+executive. au=Lyons%2C+Mary+Frances. date=2002-01-01. issn=0898-2759. volume=28. issue=1. spage=91. externalDocID=11806240
Hall, P. , & Densten, I. L. (2002). Following Successfully: Followership and Technology Adoption. Prometheus, 20(2), 87-105. doi:10. 1080/08109020210137484 Hertig, J. (2010). New practitioners forum. Followership: nontraditional leadership roles for new practitioners. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, 67(17), 1412-1413. doi:10. 2146/ajhp090535 Allen, L.. (2009). TRUST. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Compounding, 13(4), 268. Retrieved May 12, 2011, from ProQuest Nursing & Allied Health Source. (Document ID: 1860203541).
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