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Topic 8 Leaders and Followers. Followers “If you wish to develop people into leaders, you must begin by teaching them to be followers.” - West Point U.S.

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Presentation on theme: "Topic 8 Leaders and Followers. Followers “If you wish to develop people into leaders, you must begin by teaching them to be followers.” - West Point U.S."— Presentation transcript:

1 Topic 8 Leaders and Followers

2 Followers “If you wish to develop people into leaders, you must begin by teaching them to be followers.” - West Point U.S. Military Academy




6 Ira Chaleff Anecdotally comments that for every 300 references on leadership --- 1 on followership Fairly New Phrase in Leadership Literature

7 Effective Followership Studies have mostly omitted followership as a determinant of effective leadership Leadership and followership are related in a Yin and Yang fashion – one concept implies another When we commonly speak of effective leadership, we are really speaking of effective followership

8 Leadership and Followership Good followers are reliable and dependable people, whom leadership can count on in the clutch. When we speak of followers, we are not talking about blindly, passive followers, or about “yes” men and women. We are talking about assertive, critical thinkers, who will allow their talents to be utilized, but who will refuse to be used and abused by leadership. One learns the art and science of effective leadership by being a consistent and committed follower.

9 Effective Followers Effective followers “have the vision to see both the forest and the trees, the social capacity to work well with others, the strength of character to flourish without heroic status, the moral and psychological balance to pursue personal and corporate goals at no cost to either, and, above all, the desire to participate in a team effort for the accomplishment of some greater purpose.”

10 Followers & Followership “I am a leader, therefore I must follow others.” (Voltaire 1700’s) First step in leadership development is teaching one to be a follower. Everyone (without exception) is a follower. West Point Thesis ---- able leaders emerge from the ranks of able followers

11 Qualities of Effective Followers Loyal, effective team player with a contagious attitude Always ready to accept tasks One who remains positive in changing or confusing situations Regards peers well and is well-regarded Acts for the good of the team, as well as self Competent Dedicated Honest, Sincere Strong, Independent

12 Qualities of Effective Followers “Good followers are reliable and dependable people, whom leadership can count on in the clutch” They are “assertive, critical thinkers, who allow their talents to be utilized, but who will refuse to be used and abused by leadership” Chaleff developed a model for the courageous follower that requires “the courage to assume responsibility, the courage to serve, the courage to challenge, the courage to participate in transformation, and the courage to leave’

13 Robert Kelley Harvard Business Review Article “In Praise of Followers” 4 Essential Qualities ◦ Self-management ◦ Commitment ◦ Competence and Focus ◦ Courage Another way of framing qualities of effective followers is to say we want them to be generally the same as qualities of effective leaders.

14 The Followers Certain aspects of followers affect the leadership process: ◦ Expectations ◦ Personality traits ◦ Maturity levels ◦ Levels of competence ◦ Motivation

15 The Followers (continued) Workers who share a leader’s goals and values will be more motivated to do their work. The number of followers reporting to a leader can have significant implications. Other relevant variables include follower’s trust in the leader and their confidence (or not) that he or she is interested in their well-being.

16 Follower-Leader Comparison Follower Power ??? ◦ Effective followers generally use referent or expert power to strengthen their position. ◦ Regarding followers---- Research tells us that higher intelligence and certain personality traits such as agreeableness and dependability relate to higher performance.

17 Graen & Scandura’s LMX Theory Leader- Member Exchange Theory Expectations In-Group Out-Group Psychological Bank Account Resulting Performance

18 Leader-Member Exchange Theory Developed in the mid-1970s, LMX describes how leaders, over time, develop different exchange relationships with their various followers Leaders develop separate exchange relationships with each of their followers ◦ A small group of followers constitutes an “in- group” ◦ The majority of the followers constitute an “out- group”

19 The Reciprocal Nature of Influence There is a great deal of evidence suggesting that leadership style affects subordinate performance and attitudes There are also sound theoretical bases that argue that subordinate performance and satisfaction can cause the leader to vary his style of leadership

20 Robert Kelley: Two-Dimensional Taxonomy Categorizing Follower Behavior Using a Two-Dimensional Taxonomy ◦ Independent, Critical Thinking--- Dependent Uncritical Thinking ◦ Active --- Passive

21 Robert Kelley:Two-Dimensional Taxonomy The first dimension is independent, critical thinking as opposed to dependent, uncritical thinking. Effective followers think on their own without having to be told every detail. Because they are confident in their abilities, effective followers are willing to take risks and act independently. Ineffective followers do not think for themselves; they wait for instructions from their leaders because they are not willing to take any risks. Sometimes, followers act this way because they have fear of failure. In the middle of independent, critical thinking and dependent, uncritical thinking are followers who do the task they are given without challenging the leader.

22 Robert Kelley:Two-Dimensional Taxonomy The second dimension in Robert Kelley’s model categorizes followers as active or passive. According to Kelley, effective followers are active. They participate and take responsibility for the job. Ineffective followers are passive; they need to be supervised all the time to ensure the job gets done. In the middle of passive and active are followers who after being told what needs to be done gets the task done.

23 Robert Kelley Research and work of Robert Kelley (late 80’s, early 90’s) Using the 2 dimensions of independent, critical thinking and activity level, followers are categorized into one of 5 levels.


25 Five Style of Followers Alienated Followers Conformist Followers Pragmatist Followers Passive Followers Exemplary Followers

26 1. Alienated Followers Passive and critical such followers are often capable but cynical, often good followers who have become disgruntled

27 2. Conformist Followers The “yes people” of the organization, active but uncritical, demonstrate commitment but lack self-confidence or are averse to conflict

28 3. Pragmatist Followers Middle of the road survivors --- usually mediocre performers who present an ambiguous image – they may be risk averse – often very political workers

29 4. Passive Followers Both passive and uncritical, these followers show none of the behavior of effective followers; behavior only in response to leader and/or situation

30 5. Exemplary Followers The most effective followers are active and critical; they know how to get along with the leader and peers and others for the benefit of the organization


32 Partnering (Rosenbach, Pittman, Porter [1996, 97, 98]) Partnering deal with the quality of relationships between leaders and followers rather than on characteristics of leaders and followers.

33 Rosenbach, Pittman, Porter (1996, 97, 98) Partnering Focus is on Quality of Relationships 2 Dimensions: ◦ Performance Initiative ◦ Relationship Initiative

34 4 Types of Followers 1. Subordinate (like Kelley’s passive follower) ◦ Low on both dimensions 2. Valued Contributor (somewhat like Kelley’s exemplary follower) ◦ High on performance, low on relationship dimension 3. Politician ◦ Low on performance, high on relationships 4. The Partner (similar to Kelley’s Exemplary Follower) ◦ High on both dimensions

35 Robert Bales SYMLOG SYMLOG (SYstematic Multiple Level Observation of Groups) A method for rating and graphing follower behavior

36 Bales (Robert F. Bales) Older Research—late 50’s, early 60’s SYMLOG Bales model of Systematic Multiple Observation of Groups integrates personality theory and group dynamics in analyzing and understanding the performance of groups (i.e., followers)

37 SYMLOG Field Diagram Group members are charted as circles in a network based on 3 bipolar dimensions ◦ Friendliness-Unfriendliness ◦ Acceptance-Nonacceptance ◦ Dominance-Submissiveness Most effective followers are friendly, accepting, and somewhat more dominant than neutral

38 Peter Block --- 1993  Leaders as Stewards & Servants Stewardship Servant Leadership Notion that leaders serve their followers Bolman & Deal Dorothy Marcic Peter Senge

39 “Do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?” - Robert Greenleaf

40 Can you teach someone to be a good follower? Maybe, maybe not Probably not---Personality Issues But you can use guidelines in HRD, MDE, T&D Programs to emphasize ways to improve followership Yukl Chaleff Whetton & Cameron

41 Changing Roles for Followers The leader-follower relationship is in a period of dynamic change. ◦ Increased pressure to function with reduced resources. ◦ Trend toward greater power sharing and decentralized authority in organizations. ◦ Increase in complex problems. Followers can become much more proactive in their stance toward organizational problems. Followers can better contribute to the leadership process by becoming better skilled at “influencing upward.”

42 Applications: Guidelines for Followers Support leader efforts to make necessary changes. Find out what you are expected to do. Take the initiative to deal with problems. Keep the boss informed about your decisions. Verify the accuracy of information you give the boss. Encourage the boss to provide honest feedback to you.

43 Applications: Guidelines for Followers Show appreciation and provide recognition when appropriate. Challenge flawed plans and proposals made by leaders. Resist inappropriate influence attempts by the boss. Provide upward coaching and counseling when appropriate.

44 Developing Followership It is not an easy task; and a canned, one size fits all solution will not work. Each organization is unique as are its leaders and followers. The individual situation must be addressed. First, find out where the followers are in their development. Some may already be great performers and need only encouragement and motivation to keep up the good work, while others may be stuck in the obedience mode and need a great deal of nurturing to reach their greatest potential.

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