Promoting Sustainable Followership
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There are now many leadership training facilities and courses. These address
the needs of so many people who believe that leadership skills offer career
advancement, competitive advantage, or respond most usefully to the condition
of the leaderless. This note briefly explores the need for new insights into
the amount, and quality, of followership that will be required in the presence
of so much leadership.
There are so many leadership programs, and so many wanabee leaders, it may
be usefully asked what skills they have developed to deal with situations when
there is another leader in the same space -- or indeed someone they might usefully
follow for a while. This leads to dramatic and well-known problems of prima
donna leadership and the inability of leaders to collaborate -- a basic problem
in most community and national situations leading to the proliferation of non-collaborating
Of course the dilemma when marketing a product is who would want it to be
known that they spend any part of their lives in a followership situation?
Winners lead -- losers follow! So it would be impossible to sell the product
to provide the skills which we really need in society. Another useful reflection
is to consider the dance metaphor so often used in new forms of strategic thinking.
If you try dancing in situations where only you are the leader, you will find
that few choose to follow. Dancing requires leadership and followership. Hence
it is worth considering that you are effectively only providing half a package.
For your amusement you might also care to consider the relationship between
leadership and "lead". What we really need is to transmute the "lead" part of
leadership into "gold". So many leaders are indeed leaden and teaching people
to become more leaden is indeed something to be avoided. How about a program
on "Authentic Goldership" instead?
It is my sense that on such occasions as much effort needs to be put into what
might be termed Authentic Followership.
Sergeants in the army and officers
Minders of prominent persons and wrestlers