Research Paper on Followership
4 May 2011
Dr. Mark Ellis
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. and 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...
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