— Chinese proverb
If you want one year of prosperity, grow
If you want 10 years of prosperity, grow
If you want 100 years of prosperity, grow
On average, leaders contribute no more than 20 percent to
the success of most organizations
Followers are critical to the remaining 80 percent
The only time followers follow the leader is when the
leader’s orbit and the follower’s orbit are in synch
Most people, whatever their title, spend more time working
as followers than as leaders (more time reporting to people
than having people report to us)
What is a leader?
How do leaders differ from managers?
What is a follower?
Can we have a meaningful discussion of followership
without a discussion of leadership?
Why is leadership so important in higher education?
What about followership?
Why do you think the idea, and ideal, of followership is
so difficult for us to deal with?
It is the job of the leader to grow the
The mark of a great leader is the development and growth of
It is the job of the followers to grow the
One mark of a great follower is the growth of leaders.
The manager administers; the leader innovates
The manager is a copy; the leader is the original
The manger focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on
The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust
The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range
The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why
The manager has his eye always on the bottom line; the leader has
his eye on the horizon
The manager imitates; the leader originates
The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it
The manager is the classic good soldier; the leader is his own person
The manager does things right; the leader does the right things
-becoming a Leader
Becoming a manager has much to do with learning the metaphors;
becoming a good manager has much to do with using the metaphors;
and becoming a leader has much to do with changing the metaphors.
The Leader is always on Stage
A leader must remember that he is on stage every day. His people
are watching him. Everything he says, and the way he says it,
sends off clues to his employees. These clues affect performance.
The leader is always on stage.
– Marcus Buckingham: First, Break All the Rules
Strong communication skills
And the two qualities listed most often by leaders:
Question: What “qualities” are missing?
Have no sense of vision:
“She constantly changes her mind about important
issues. There is no consistent vision. Everyone is going in
circles and nothing important ever gets accomplished.”
Refuse to listen:
“My president believes that he is always right. He simply
will not listen. His body language, demeanor, and how he
speaks to his staff constantly reinforce the impression
that he knows more than anyone. After a while we just
give up trying to contribute.”
Embrace exceptional followers as partners
Partnership means sharing information
Partners co-create the vision and mission
Partners share the risks and the rewards
Create environments where exceptional
Be less a hero and more a hero maker
See “quiz” at end of presentation
Keeps things in perspective
Plays by the rules and regulations
Plays political games
Risk averse and prone to cover their tracks
Carries out assignments with middling enthusiasm
Staying within the rules is important
Should try to avoid uncertainty and instability
Mavericks who think for themselves
Plays the devil’s advocate
Not a team player
Their leader does not fully recognize or utilize their talents
Extreme cases: Saboteur
Accepts assignments easily
Trusts and commits to the team and the leader
Seeks to minimize conflict
Lacks own ideas
Unwilling to make unpopular decisions
Averse to conflict
Following the established order is more important than
Relies on the leader’s judgment and thinking
Just putting in their time, little else
Requires an inordinate amount of supervision
The organization doesn’t want their ideas
The leader is going to do what he/she wants
Contributes above and beyond
Seeks to add value and assist others
Highly idealistic; can suffer disillusionment
Their contribution is important … even essential
Job skills: How exceptional followers add value
Focus and commitment
Competence in critical-path activities
Initiative in increasing their value to the organization
Organizational skills: How exceptional followers nurture and
leverage a web of organizational relationships with:
Values: How exceptional followers exercise a courageous
conscience which guides their job activities and
Ira Chaleff introduces the idea of the
The courage to assume responsibility
The courage to serve
The courage to challenge
The courage to participate in organizational
The courage to leave
Leaders ache for followers who will show initiative
Assume responsibility for yourself … and your
Discover or create opportunities to fulfill their
potential and maximize their value to the
Focus on the critical path
They assume new or additional responsibilities to unburden
the leader and serve the organization
They stay alert for areas in which their strengths
complement the leader’s and assert themselves in these
Courageous followers stand up for their leader and the tough
decisions a leader must make if the organization is to
achieve its purpose
The responsibilities of gate keeping
Focus the leader
Courageous followers give voice to the
discomfort they feel when the behaviors or
policies of the leader or group conflict with
their sense of what is right
They are willing to stand up, to stand out, to
risk rejection, to initiate conflict in order to
examine the actions of the leader and group
When behavior that jeopardizes the
common purpose remains unchanged,
courageous followers recognize the need
for organizational change
They champion the need for change and
stay with the leader and the group while
they mutually struggle with the difficulty
of real change
Focus on the goal, not the job
Do a great job on critical-path activities related to the goal
Contribute to the growth of other team members
Help keep the team, and the leaders, on track
Take the initiative to increase their value to the organization
Realize they add value not just by going above and beyond
their work, but in being who they are—their experiences,
ideals, and dreams
Support the leader’s decisions
Challenge the leader
Encourage the leader
Defend the leader
Work to increase the variety and complexity of assignments they receive
Seek to enhance their skill sets
Share the credit
Never undermine their authority
Mentor followers who hope to assume larger leadership roles
Encourage and enhance dialogue
Heighten their sense of accountability for the decisions they make
Keep their confidences
Acknowledge their value, both publicly and privately
Reward them in ways they find meaningful
Trust your followers
Rosabeth Moss Kanter cites four principles in which
followers might become more powerful:
Give people important work to do on critical issues
Give people discretion and autonomy over their tasks and
Give people visibility and provide recognition for their
Build relationships for your people, connecting them with
powerful people and finding them sponsors and mentors
The reason that most change
efforts derail is because
they focus on processes
and not people.
Systems won’t change if
people won’t cooperate.
People are the gatekeepers
Leadership is really not how we perceive
ourselves as leaders –
But, how those who follow perceive us.
PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLY
WHAT YOU DID, OR WHAT YOU SAID,
THEY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW
YOU MADE THEM FEEL.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Rarely Occasionally Almost Always
Does your work help you fulfill some societal goal or personal dream that is important to you?
Are your personal work goals aligned with the organization's priority goals?
Are you highly committed to and energized by your work and organization, giving them your best
ideas and performance?
Does your enthusiasm also spread to and energize your co-workers?
Instead of waiting for or merely accepting what the leader tells you, do you personally identify
which organizational activities are most critical for achieving the organization's priority goals?
Do you actively develop a distinctive competence in those critical activities so that you become
more valuable to the leader and the organization?
When starting a new job or assignment, do you promptly build a record of successes in tasks that
are important to the leader?
Can the leader give you a difficult assignment without the benefit of much supervision, knowing
that you will meet your deadline with highest-quality work and that you will ”fill in the cracksquot; if
Do you take the initiative to seek out and successfully complete assignments that go above and
beyond your job?
When you are not the leader of a group project, do you still contribute at a high level, often doing
more than your share?
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Rarely Occasionally Almost Always
Do you independently think up and champion new ideas that will contribute significantly to the
leader's or the organization's goals?
Do you try to solve the tough problems (technical or organizational), rather than look to the leader to
do it for you?
Do you help out other co-workers, making them look good, even when you don't get any credit?
Do you help the leader or group see both the upside potential and downside risks of ideas or plans,
playing the devil's advocate if need be?
Do you understand the leader's needs, goals, and constraints, and work hard to help meet them?
Do you actively and honestly own up to your strengths and weaknesses rather than put off evaluation?
Do you make a habit of internally questioning the wisdom of the leader's decision rather than just
doing what you are told?
When the leader asks you to do something that runs contrary to your professional or personal
preferences, do you say quot;noquot; rather than ''yesquot;?
Do you act on your own ethical standards rather than the leader's or the group's standards?
Do you assert your views on important issues, even though it might mean conflict with your group or
reprisals from the leader?
Ira Chaleff, in The Courageous Follower, notes that the
term follower “conjures up images of docility,
conformity, weakness, and failure to excel. Often, none
of this is the least bit true. The sooner we move beyond
these images and get comfortable with the idea of
powerful followers supporting powerful leaders, the
sooner we can fully develop and test models for
dynamic, self-responsible, synergistic relationships in
Bennis: Organizing Genius
Kelly, Robert E. “In Praise of Followers,”
Buckingham: First, Break All the Rules
Harvard Business Review
Carlyle: On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the
Heroic in History
———. The Power of Followership: How to
Chaleff, Ira. The Courageous Follower: Standing
Create Leaders People Want to Follow and
Up To and For Our Leaders
Followers Who Lead Themselves
Greenleaf, Robert K. Servant Leadership: A
Kriegel, Robert. Sacred Cows Make the Best
Journey Into the Nature of Legitimate Power
Robbins: Why Teams Don’t Work
Habecker, Eugene B. Leading With a Follower’s
Heart Sevier, Robert A. “How to Be An Exemplary
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