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leader follower management

There’s a new term workplace leaders need to incorporate into professional vocabulary: “Followership.”

Why? Because recent research suggests effective “followership” is the key to successful “leadership.”

Per Harvard Business Review:

Leaders are only ever as effective as their ability to engage followers. Without followership, leadership is nothing …it is a process that emerges from a relationship between leaders and followers who are bound together by their understanding that they are members of the same social group. People will be more effective leaders when their behaviors indicate that they are one of us, because they share our values, concerns and experiences, and are doing it for us, by looking to advance the interests of the group rather than own personal interests.

As this Inc. article states, In essence, being a good leader is ensuring that you’re being seen as a good follower– “as someone who is willing to work within the group and on its behalf,” state the authors. It’s being seen as “one of us” (not “one of them”).

So, what makes a leader a good follower? Inc. outlines 5 traits:

  1. Loyalty
  2. Diligence
  3. Learning new things
  4. Serving others
  5. Courageous Honesty

The article goes more in depth on each of these traits, providing insight into how each one connects followership to leadership.

In the end, it’s a fascinating discovery to something many of us have suspected for a long time – successful leaders don’t act in service of themselves, but on behalf of the group. They don’t act as “sharks”, but rather members of a pack.

So… how will YOU lead in the workplace?