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Followership Vs Team Performance

Autor:   •  February 28, 2011  •  Case Study  •  1,540 Words (7 Pages)  •  3,014 Views

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Followership vs. Team Performance

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines followership as "the capacity or willingness to follow a leader" (Merriam Webster). This definition is very narrow and only a mere portion of what followership really is. Followership, much like leadership is not one-dimensional; followership is thinking in multiple dimensions systematically. It is important to note that leaders are only responsible for about 20% of the work that is completed in an organization (Kelley, 1992). Because of this, the people working with and for the leaders are of the upmost importance. They have the ability to make or break the performance of a team as well as the team itself.

The team association is crucial. A highly functioning team has a number of people with skills that compliment the vision of the group and who are committed to a common vision for which everyone is held equally accountable. This critical function does not happen by accident. The teams must be constructed carefully with much thought to the structure of the team as well as the team members that will form the team base. A high functioning team cannot survive without a well thought out structure and a vision that will be the foundation towards which the group will work.


High performing teams are unable to create and uphold an elevated level of performance without a strong presence of followership. Followership will bring a level of consistency and performance unable to be reached with members who do not pursue a followership model/mindset.

Creating good followers

Followers have been in existence for as long as there have been leaders. Not until 1967 was there mention of the importance of followership, Wiles stated that followership and leadership may be equal (Nolan 2001). There are several styles of followership. They are: exemplary, alienated, conformist, pragmatist, and passive (Kelley, 97, 1992). These styles have both positive and negative implications. Styles such as alienated, conformist, and passive can create team members that are timid, lazy, indifferent, and possibly pessimistic. Followers were also thought of as weak. It was thought that everyone should pursue leadership not followership. All of these attributes have stigmatized followers and the concept of followership.

Not all followership is positive. It is only a worthwhile approach when it is watched carefully and done in an environment of trust and open communication. This is because there is the proclivity of followers in certain situations to be dishonest. There is a potential for people to abuse the power that they do have. Given the fact that what people want and need frequently determines what they see and hear, a dishonest effort comes easily. An organization that wants to hear a certain answer


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