in mba

What Every Leader Needs to Know About Followers

Notes on:

Kellerman, B. (2007, December). What Every Leader Needs to Know About Followers. Harvard Business Review, December 2007, p 84-91.

  • Modern leadership
    • Stress leaders rather than followers (amorphous)
  • Followers matter!
    • Not obvious who is leader and who is follower
    • New typology for followers
  • Who are followers?
    • “Low in the hierarchy and have less power” (p 86)
    • Free-agents (p 86)
      • Demise of communism
      • Dissolution of corporate oligarchies
    • Knowledge can be more important than position
  • Types of followers
    • Zaleznik – level of dominance, level of activity
    • Kelley – level of independence, level of activity
    • Chaleff – level of leader support
    • Why segment?
      • impose order
      • determine individual motivations within group
  • New Typology
    • Based on engagement level
      • This determines relationship with superiors
    • Provides immediate information for leaders
    • Isolates – don’t know, don’t care
    • Bystanders – know, but don’t care
    • Participants – some engagement
    • Activists – engagement and feelings for leaders/org
    • Die-hards – prepared to give everything
  • Good and Bad Followers
    • Good followers have interests of org over superior
    • Bad followers have interests of self or superior over org