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Discussion – Leadership and Followership

Discussion – Leadership and Followership

Leadership and followership are two complementary concepts, whose understanding has become increasingly important in management. Leadership has been the main concept of focus with its link to management and performance being widely understood by many. Conversely, followership, the other side of leadership, has also come to be understood as an important component of successful management (Leroy et al., 2015). A balance between leadership and followership is important for effective management and enterprise performance.

Definition of Leadership and Followership

Leadership is the ability to guide others. Leaders have the practical skills enabling them to be the guide and help others to do what is required of them (Epitropaki et al., 2017). On the other hand, followership is the ability to get behind a leader or a given program. A follower is able to take direction well and do whatever is required of them. Followership takes a back seat when it comes to leadership but it is just as important (Van Vugt, 2006). A good balance between leadership and followership skills is necessary for management and enterprise success to be achieved. A manifestation of poor followership skills affects teamwork just as much as poor leadership does.

Me as a Follower

A lot has been written and promoted about having great leadership skills. There is also some form of stigma that is associated with wanting to be a follower rather than a leader. Even though I may have naturally had the skills of a follower, some of them have been suppressed or not manifested in my interaction with people because of my misunderstanding of followership. The following are my characteristics as a follower.

One of my characteristics as a follower is that I am loyal. I am always loyal to the enterprise that I work for. My loyalty is expressed in my concern for the success of the organization and the teams within which I work. When working on any project or program, I ensure that I follow instructions and give my all to achieve the set objectives. I also tend to be a competent follower. When a leader assigns tasks to be done, I tend to ensure that I fully utilize my skills and capabilities to achieve the best quality possible. When a task is not in my skill area I ask for help from someone with a better understanding of the task so that I can get the kinds of results expected by my leader. I am also a courageous follower. As a follower, I do not just blindly do anything as long as it has been asked of me by the leader. I question the leader in areas that I do not agree with. For instance, when I believe that my supervisor or manager is doing an unethical thing, I would not follow them simply because they are the leader. However, as a follower, I am also very egoistic. I may have a problem taking orders sometimes. When I am planning to do something and someone repeats the instructions to me, my morale is likely to be diminished. Even as a follower, I like to be in control of my own work.

One improvement that I need to improve my followership is to change my perspective. I need to view being a follower as a positive thing and an important role in the achievement of organizational success. Many people do not make good followers because they view followership to be of less value than leadership. This could be the problem causing my egoistic nature in followership. I can achieve this change by reading more about followership to understand its complementary role to leadership.

Another improvement that I need is to be more collaborative. Being collaborative naturally makes one a good follower. To collaborate with others one has to be ready to listen to the perspectives of others and implement them to achieve set goals and objectives. Being collaborative will enable me to form positive relationships with the people I work with without the expectations of being the head of the group. This improvement can be achieved through more communication. Communication is an important quality for a follower as it is for a leader. As a follower, I should be able to openly communicate with the people I work with to have adequate information to do the best possible job.

My Valued Leadership Characteristics

            One of the leadership characteristics that I value is integrity. Integrity is the ability to have good moral principles and values and to be honest. As a follower, if I am going to be guided by another person, I would want that person to be one with good moral values.  A leader should guide the follower in the right direction. As I mentioned in the followership characteristics, I am a courageous follower and will not hesitate to question leaders that I find to be unethical. For this not to happen, the leader needs to have integrity.

Another leadership characteristic that I value is communication. A good leader is one who is able to openly communicate with their followers. I mentioned that as a follower I am loyal to the program or organization that I am working for. I feel that to be able to do this, I should have a leader who can openly share information with me. I need to know what is going on with the program, the progress I have made, and what else is needed for me to do my work competently. This can only be achieved when working with a leader who believes in open communication.

Another important leadership quality that I value is confidence. A leader should be confident in their qualities, abilities, and the vision that they want the followers to achieve. As a follower, I need to be sure that the leader understands what they are doing and is confident that the instructions they give me will lead us to success. With such a quality I will be able to easily follow the leader and be motivated to help achieve their vision. Such a quality would help me to work on my ego because I will trust the leader to be right when they give me instructions.


            Leadership and followership are complementary. For any goals done by a group to be achieved, there needs to be great leadership and followership skills. Followership is often misunderstood and seen as less important; hence, many people do not focus on developing their followership skills as much as they do their leadership. This reflection has demonstrated that I need to work on my followership skills to be better at working with other people even when I am not the head of the team.


Epitropaki, O., Kark, R., Mainemelis, C., & Lord, R. G. (2017). Leadership and followership identity processes: A multilevel review. The Leadership Quarterly, 28(1), 104-129.

Leroy, H., Anseel, F., Gardner, W. L., & Sels, L. (2015). Authentic leadership, authentic followership, basic need satisfaction, and work role performance: A cross-level study. Journal of Management, 41(6), 1677-1697.

Van Vugt, M. (2006). Evolutionary origins of leadership and followership. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 10(4), 354-371.


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Discussion - Leadership and Followership

Discussion – Leadership and Followership

Leadership and followership are complementary concepts and depending on the situation, one can be a follower, a leader, or both. Define leadership and followership. Describe yourself as a follower. Given your characteristics, what improvements are needed and how could these improvements be pursued? Based on yourself as a follower, what leadership characteristics do you value and why?

Your paper should be 3-4 pages in length, not counting the title and reference pages, and conform to the CSU-Global Guide to Writing and APA. Include at least three scholarly references in addition to the course textbook. The CSU-Global Library is a good place to find these references.

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