chapter  10
18 Pages

Followership

WithAngela N. Spranger

It’s a funny word, followership. I was once even confronted by a manager who insisted that it wasn’t a “real” word, but in the workplace context where we worked, I was able to point out several context-specific jargon words that did not show up in the online dictionary searches, while followership did, and he accepted that. Followers are not necessarily always employees, and all employees are not necessarily followers, so I use the words as appropriate here. In many cases, employees perceive that while leadership and followership are interrelated and symbiotic, each position requires specific skills, motivations, abilities, and role perceptions (Agho, 2009). Both the leader and the follower influence the performance and productivity of the work group, and without followers, a leader is unnecessary. A leader requires followers who accept his or her influence and direction. Indeed, followers have equal, if not greater, power in the leader-follower dyadic relationship, as they are the component without which the leader cannot function. Potter, Rosenbach, and Pittman (2001) suggested that a shared, partnership orientation toward developing effective relationships and driving high performance represent two key elements in encouraging such a partnership orientation.