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Followership and How it Relates to Leadership

While we frequently hear about leadership, we hardly ever hear about followership. It is because followership carries a negative stigma for whatever reason — some people brand being a follower with a negative connotation. They do not view followership as aspirational or as captivating as leadership. Followers have never held a starring position; leaders have.

However, the hard truth is that leading cannot exist without following. To follow entails a specific set of abilities that enhance a leader's capabilities. In other words, followers legitimize and are a prerequisite for great leaders.


An effective follower is an intellectual, driven, and self-reliant person propelled by a desire to promote an aspiration they recognize realistically and believe in. The fact that they serve as the leader's complement, even though they may not be interested in leading themselves, makes effective leadership possible.


Moreover, the follower role is essential in the modern, fast-paced, competitive environment. Leaders must rely on followers to provide novel and innovative ideas, approaches, and challenges to existing conditions because they are not often the smartest or best people in the room. It is why leader-follower relationships should encompass reciprocity or the two-way exchange of influence. The followers' impact on a leader can help boost the leader or enhance this same leader's shortfalls.


Unmatched leadership integrates the attitude of a follower. The following are the qualities of an effective follower:


Active involvement and participation. Instead of passively allowing a topic to move on, it is vital to speak up when there is uncertainty. Followers who engage with others and participate actively are more likely to avert dysfunction by questioning a leader's actions when warranted.


Flexibility. Organizations with flexible followers and outstanding leaders are more improved to survive times of crisis. This characteristic demonstrates the capacity to familiarize with a new situation without getting too impacted by events, particularly those beyond anyone's control.


Conscious self-management. The capacity to manage one's work and schedule reveal a competent follower who can thrive without an overseer. Individuals can improve their following skills by actively keeping up with assignments and managing their responsibilities.


Unconstrained critical thought. Independent, critical thinking entails evaluating information and facts to reach conclusions about an issue. While working together is valuable, everyone needs time to develop their ideas. Influential followers who can thrive without a leader will ensure that each individual thinks critically and individually about the issue at hand.


Integrity and bravery. Individuals who maintain an organization's ethics must have the fortitude to speak honestly. This lack of honesty and courage to escalate the issue can lead to more significant disasters, demonstrating why influential followers must possess these qualities.


Confidence and sincerity. Organizations must have faith in their leaders and dedication to their aims to establish a culture of progress. It is a two-way street that organizations must support to achieve successful followership.


A team player. Teamwork is essential in today's world, with practically every company requiring some collective effort. A group of competent followers may work together and show up daily with new ideas to promote an organization's mission and goals.


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