Leadership V. Followership
Possessing skills or knowledge in the area of leadership can benefit people in the future. Effective leaders must understand from where their authority comes. Official authority comes from regulations and manuals or is designated by rank. But authority over people results from one thing?the willingness of those placed in the leaders charge to follow. Ira Chaleff, author of the article “Learn the Art of Followership,” puts it this way, “The relationship between leaders and followers all the way up and down the organization chart makes programs, breaks programs, and makes or breaks careers. Members must smoothly shift between the leader and the follower roles.”
The willingness of subordinates to follow erodes when a leader undermines those in authority. This undermining can come in several forms: arguing publicly with a supervisor, not carrying out responsibilities, and complaining or making biting comments about supervisors to subordinates. When a leader behaves poorly as a follower, how can subordinates be expected to do better Followership hinges on integrity?it must be present in leaders and followers alike. No one can expect people to support decisions if there is one hint of compromise or lack of integrity.
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