Leadership and Followership

Well I’m not sure if I love this or hate it but I certainly think it is interesting!

The key point that I take from this is the importance of the first follower. After all, leadership does not exist without followers and the first follower shows others how to follow. As the guy on the video clip states, the leader should embrace this first follower as an equal – after all without him the dancing guy is just ‘a lone nut’!

This clip reminds me of a leadership and followership exercise which I have conducted with different groups of people. It is a problem solving exercise with no official leader appointed, and the objective is to understand and reflect upon the group behaviour and take individual learnings from it.

On occasions, there will be many leaders and not enough followers, and the situation descends into chaos. On other occasions, there are many followers, with no-one clearly articulating how they believe the problem should be solved. Neither situation is better than the other, as either way the group struggles to solve the problem. The key to the exercise is knowing the importance of followership as well as leadership.

As business leaders we have always been taught that leadership is good, but we don’t necessarily appreciate the role of the follower.  We are all leaders and followers in different situations, and the key takeaway for me is to understand which role to fill when.

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