Followership: How Followers Are Creating Change and Changing Leaders (Center for Public Leadership)
How Followers Are Creating Change and Changing Leaders
The age of the all-powerful executive has ended. Followers the world over are getting bolder and more strategic-which is why leaders who dismiss or discount them do so at their peril. Barbara Kellerman's groundbreaking volume is the first to provide a sweeping view of followers, both in their own right, and as they relate to their leaders and to each other. Her work is a deliberate departure from the leader-centric approach that has dominated our thinking about leadership and management. It provides compelling and ultimately conclusive evidence that to focus on superiors at the expense of their subordinates is to distort the dynamic between them. Through gripping stories about a range of people and places-from multinational corporations such as Merck, to Nazi Germany, and to the American military after 9/11-Kellerman makes all-important distinctions among five different types of followers. Isolates, Bystanders, Participants, Activists, and Diehards-all are grouped by level of engagement. They range from followers who are completely withdrawn to those who are deeply committed and fully engaged-either in support of their leaders or in opposition. Filled with astute observations and penetrating analyses, Followership shows how people with no apparent power, authority, or influence have an impact on those far better positioned than they. It further reveals that followers matter not only when they do something, but even when they do nothing. By drawing on insights from various fields including psychology, sociology, and history, Kellerman demonstrates that followers have always been important. She also demonstrates that as the result of certain changes, such as those in information technology, followers are more important now than ever. Kellerman makes plain that to fixate on leaders at the expense of followers is misguided even mistaken. The latter are every bit as consequential as the former which makes this book required reading for superiors and subordinates alike.