To make someone follow your style is always
the top goal of any leader. Robert Kelley once says, “Effective followers and effective leaders are often the same people
playing different parts at different hours of the day”.
And Helen Keller also stresses this line, “Alone we can do so little; together
we can do so much”.
Yes! It is always an unceasing challenge for
leaders to acquire and to have 100% effective followership. Expecting beyond
what is typically happening in reality is always a myth; yet, it can be
possible. So, we can see what matters on
the written article of Kelly setting the standard of effective leadership. Kelly spelled out that any success is not
absolutely dependent of dynamic leaders heading passive or uncaring
subordinates; but, seeing active, functional, or operational followers rolled
out a very crucial and pivotal role in the overall organizational achievements.
Can you figure out how followership
works upon looking at Kelly’s Five Followership Styles Model where pragmatic survivor
is placed at the core, then surrounded directly by the alienated follower,
effective follower, passive follower, and the conformist? Besides such
followership styles can be influenced directly and indirectly by the elements
like passive behavior, active behavior, independent critical thinking and
dependent uncritical thinking. In Kelly’s
Followership Model, we labeled the followers: (1) Effective followers as “The
Stars” who are independent and critical thinkers and so active. They show
consistent desirable behavior towards all people at all times and handle conflict
and risk well; (2) Conformist followers as “The Yes-People” who coordinate well
but don’t dare question orders. They are
afraid of conflict and avoid risk; (3) Passive followers as “The Sheep” just
like infants who don’t want to think nor take action. These followers have no initiative to do what
needs to be done nor take responsibility; (4) Alienate followers as “The
Bitters” who think well yet for some reasons conceal themselves. They are very negative and feel bitterness;
and, (5) Pragmatic Survivors as “The Canary in the mine-shaft” followers who
can immediately shift different followership styles to perfectly suit to the
We see great leaders
because they have great followers.
Followers mark the greatness and the goodness of the leaders. Let’s see for instance in sports team. It is so clear that the team manifests those
who lead and displays those who follow for many different reasons, at
absolutely different times during the game for the team to win. The team uses the expertise and the skills of
those who have them. Within the sports
team, no one can be uncaring or passive. Everyone should be and expected to be a good
See! Followers should possess two vital key
parameters: active behavior and critical thinking. Active behavior is get on
and do it! Critical thinking is being mindful on what’s going on, what the team
demands and needs for the win. It is not
only about you, about us; but, it’s all about the whole organizational goal on
what to achieve.
Thus, we cannot expect
to have all exemplary followers or only the stars in the team. There are followers or beginners who can be
conformist or passive as they try to lessen risk and conflict until they are
sure and comfortable of their environment for them to be active. Some pragmatic survivors also can be of use
for repairs and fixing prior to downs and breakdowns. In fact, even the least, the alienated can
spark possible new gates of thinking if they can be directed and facilitated
wisely well and help them have new roles which refrain them to bitterness.
There is always a
simple way out from the complicated ones. Over and above anything else, what
matters a lot are “The Stars”, the great followers and performers who carve the
organization name at the center of the Hall of Fame.