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General Blog Posts, Archives General Blog Posts, Archives






INTERNATIONAL LEADERSHIP ASSOCIATION'S FOLLOWERSHIP COMMUNITY OF LEARNING where those with curiosity about followership and leader-follower relations can explore these subjects in whatever depth they choose through study groups, relevant news and events, research, shared projects and resource links.


Registered users can enter information directly and make collaborative decisions about what this site contains and how it functions. Anyone may browse but those who wish to participate by posting and editing information can sign up for a free, private account with a password. Please note that membership in the International Leadership Association (ILA) is encouraged, but not required, to participate in our learning community. Feel free to contact any one of the administrators: Gene Dixon (our new "chair"), Ira Chaleff or Elisabeth Higgins Null to discuss the wiki or to get help in participating. We'd love to receive a line or two about who you are, what you do professionally or academically, and the nature of your interest in followership and leader-follower relations.


Learn more about ILA  Join ILA.


NOTE ABOUT LINKS: Many of our links to urls  have become obsolete since they were first published. Subscribers who discover revised information about digital locations and urls should either correct the links or notify us. In any case, we have tried to provide substantial bibliographical citations whenever possible-- Elisabeth H. Null







"We in the Followership Learning Community are encouraged by the continuing stream of dissertations completed on aspects of Followership, thereby building our base of validated knowledge.


Havins, M. H. (2010). An examination of organizational levels and followership behaviors in law enforcement. (Doctor of Education, Northern Arizona University).


Fobbs, Terry "The Evaluation of a Paradigm: The Critical Examination of the Influence of Followership Styles and Courageous Follower Attributes on Hotel Customer-Contact Employee Job Satisfaction," Capella University, 2010


Jordan, James P. has completed his dissertation , An Investigation of Exemplary Acts of Followership: A Multiple Case Study Design (University of St. Thomas, 2009) and hopes to continue his research. If anyone has stories they think might fill the bill as examples of exemplary followership they should contact the author at: kahuna2@charter.net 






Powerful Video By Singapore Defense Force on Followership 


Over the last ten years there have been a number of indications that the ideas found in The Power of Followership and The Courageous Follower have found their way into the Singapore military. This video,which places the onus of ethical followership onto every member of the Defence Forces, is a milestone in the field of Followership. If every military around the world sensitized its soldiers to their responsibility not to follower illegal and inhumane orders, the world would be a different place. For an additional example of research from Singapore about followership and the military, see Elijah Xun Ming Wee's "Dynamic Followership" (2008).



Important Early Article on Followership Discovered And Available Here

"My co-administrator, Elisabeth Higgins Null, recently discovered the following major article on Followership published in 1984, even earlier than Robert Kelley's seminal Harvard Business Review article "In Praise of Followers" published in 1988. For anyone with a strong interest in Followership, I suggest that this is a "must read". In addition to early statements of principles found in my own book and elsewhere, there are some unique and even provocative insights that I have not seen stated in other works on the relations of leadership and followership. ~ Ira Chaleff


Heller, Trudy  and Jon Van Til "Leadership and Followership: Some Summary Propositions," Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 1982; 18; 405



Three Followership Thought Leaders Recognized For Skills In Leadership Development


Three authors who write  and speak extensively on followership  have been named among the 100 best thinkers on leadership by Leadership Excellence magazine: Warren Bennis (who included The Art of Followership in the  Warren Bennis Leadership Series for the publisher, Jossey Bass) has himself written articles on followership; Barbara Kellerman (author of Followership ) has taught courses on the topic at Harvard’s Kennedy School; and Ira Chaleff, who developed the concept of "courageous followership" through The Courageous Follower and The Art of Followership, has trained executives, political leaders, and workers from every walk of life in its precepts.



"Smart Money Award" From Monitor Institute Honors Philanthropies That Support The Successful Models Of Other Philanthropies


I applaud the creation of the Smart Money Award to honor philanthropic organizations who choose to follow the successful models of other groups in their field rather than perpetuate the "everyone must lead" model. By
acknowledging the tremendous value of followership in the right situation, this initiative is making a seminal contribution to developing parity between courageous leadership and courageous followership. I encourage you to read the press release  (06/29/10) explaining the philosophy behind this award and the admirable actions of  the McKnight Foundation, this year's recipient. ~ Ira Chaleff


Last Sunday, June 26th, marked a little-known but very important date in philanthropy. It was the anniversary of

the announcement of Warren Buffett's 2006 gift of over $31 billion to the Gates Foundation— perhaps the single

largest act of followership that the field of philanthropy has known. In a field of "leaders," Buffett's gift recognized

that sometimes the best way to demonstrate leadership is actually to follow the good work of others.

[See the press release in full context]  





Abby Yanow, an Organizational Development consultant and executive coach who taught "Facing History and Ourselves: the Holocaust and Human Behavior" at Tufts University, alerts  the Followership Learning Community to the work of Nehama Tec which highlights the traits of those who rescued Jews threatened by the Holocaust. Yanow summarizes six traits Tec identified as shared by altruistic, gentile rescuers:


Individuality or separateness, an inability to blend into their social environments;
Independence or self-reliance, a willingness to act in accordance with personal convictions, regardless of how these are viewed by others;
An enduring commitment to stand up for the helpless and needy reflected in a long history of doing good deeds;
A tendency to perceive aid to Jews in a matter-of-fact, unassuming way, as neither heroic nor extraordinary;
An unplanned, unpremeditated beginning of Jewish rescue, a beginning that happened gradually or suddenly, even impulsively
Universalistic perceptions of Jews that defined them, not as Jews, but as helpless beings and as totally dependent on the protection of others


It is  crucial that we understand more about what enables those who do not follow toxic leaders or destructive orders to take a stand. Relating this to Milgram’s work, we know that two thirds of people will follow the orders of authority even when they feel them to be destructive,  and they are not under duress to do so. There is an absence of data about what is different about the other third. Yet this is the most important aspect for us to understand if we are to encourage and develop those characteristics. This is so important that it would be worth trying to find who else is examining this aspect of followership behaviors and creating a working group around this topic. -- Ira Chaleff




“It is as important to study the dark side of followership as it is to study the dark side of leadership. While it is our hope that courageous followership corrects or disempowers destructive leadership, sometimes followership enables destructive leadership. The newly published book below appears to be investigating this dynamic. I hope it makes an important contribution to our understanding of the dark side of following.” Ira Chaleff




Dineen, Tristan  Moral Followership and Modern Tyranny:  The Followers of Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein
VDM Verlag Dr. Müller (2011-05-09)


This thesis is an investigation of the role of morality in motivating the followers of 20th century tyrannies. Karl Popper argued that what interested him about modern tyrants was that they all possessed huge followings of dedicated followers who ascribed to the tyrant's “moral message”. Like the dedicated followers of any cause they believed that what they were supporting was morally righteous. The focus of this study is the often neglected followers of two such 20th century tyrants – Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein – and why they came to view these “evil” men as the righteous saviours of their respective peoples and lands. Concluding that in circumstances where a segment of the human race becomes estranged, in moral terms, from the rest of humanity, it becomes perfectly normal for people to commit evil against those deemed to be “outsiders” in the name of good. Such alienated moral environments facilitate a moral faith in tyranny.


Collinson, David, Keith Grint, and Brad jackson Leadership  (4 volumes) Sage (Sage Library in Business and Management series): 2011 


One of the important contributors to the book “The Art of Followership”, David Collinson of Lancashire University, has co-edited an important new four volume series on leadership that embraces the leader-follower relations. He describes the project as: “A move away from the early focus almost exclusively on leaders themselves – their particular styles, qualities and contributions – towards seeing leadership in terms of the dynamic relationship between leaders and followers.”


Mercer, Don with contributions by Carlos Fontana Follow to Lead, The 7 Principles to being a Great Follower. Tate Publishing & Enterprises, LLC, 2011



" 'Follow to Lead' shows that the key to becoming a great leader is by first becoming a great follower. Mastering the 7 Principles to become a great follower is easy. The book simplifies and condenses volumes of study into a brief, tangible format." Adrian Johnson, Kalamazoo Gazette


"Imaginative people are the life-blood of the organization. Some have the gift of strategic vision which will serve the organization well as it looks to the future. Some have the gift to see a better way of accomplishing a single task. Still others have the gift to implement the vision. The key for an organizational team is to integrate the individual members' gifts." -- Don Mercer


Hollander, Edwin P. Inclusive Leadership: The Essential Leader-Follower Relationship Routledge Academic, 2008



Inclusive Leadership is a process of active followership emphasizing follower needs and expectations, with the guiding principle of "Doing things with people, not to people," in a two-way influence relationship. While the author focuses on leadership side of leader- follower relations, this book presents many topics and insights of interest to followers,


Ricketson, Rusty Follower First: Rethinking Leading In the Church. Heartworks Publications, 2010



" Follower First explores the most serious lay literature on follower-leader relations and examines its application in a profoundly Christian context. Professor Ricketson adds significant spiritual insights to these models and offers corollaries for practice of the leader and follower roles within committed Christian communities. Undoubtedly, people of faith will be touched by the wisdom and at least some will be called to engage in deep personal and communal transformation." — Ira Chaleff


Follower First is available throughits publisher: http://www.heartworkspublications.com


The Courageous Follower: Standing Up To & For Our Leaders


In conjunction with the Third Edition of The Courageous Follower, Ira Chaleff is now offering an online, reflective self-assessment test for personal and professional growth and development. It is now available online from Berrett-Koehler’s website.


Also: Announcing an updated 3rd Edition by Ira Chaleff:





The updated third edition of Ira Chaleff's classic text on Followership, The Courageous Follower (Berrett Koehler: 1995, 2003, 2009) includes a new chapter, “The Courage to Speak to the Hierarchy.” Much of Chaleff’s model is based on followers having access to the leader. But today, followers can be handed questionable policies and orders that come from many levels above them—even from the other side of the world. Chaleff explores how they can respond effectively, particularly using the power now available through advances in communications technology. The book is available at Amazon in print and for Kindle. It can also be ordered in print or as an e-book directly through the publisher, Berrett-Koehler.







Rich, Theresa Staying Sane In Crazy Times2010

This book is  it's written squarely for the "little guy" who keeps the organization and its life running.  It serves as a helpful resource in tough business climates for those working down in the ranks on how to keep up their spirit and contribute to collectively making it through.  Rich did her dissertation on followership so her worldview is informed by that-- Ira Chaleff



Elizabeth Doty has written a new book, 

The Compromise Trap: How to Thrive at Work Without Sellong Your Soul (Berrett-Koehler, 2009) that, while it is not about followership per se, teems with advice that those playing a follower role may find particularly useful.



Robert M. Wachter and Kaveh Shojania's Internal Bleeding:The Truth Behind America's Terrifying Epidemic of Medical Mistakes

(Rugged Land, 2005) looks at the failures of communication under pressure within today's hospitals, where a small mistake can result in death or serious injury. What makes this book valuable to those in both leader and follower roles, particularly in the health field, is its weath of suggestions for improving the flow of information and procedures. The authors, both medical doctors, have written a book as compelling as a novel. As such, it can be read and understood by general readers.--Elisabeth Higgins Null


Annotated List of Articles on Followership for Government Workers

GovLeaders.org is a site founded in 2002 by Don Jacobson, a career Foreign Service Officer, and is designed for government workers. It recommends key articles on followership for those working in government positions. The recommendations are annotated and are supplemented by more annotated lists, in a sidebar, of books on leader-follower relations that should interest  civil servants. 



                                                  RECENT BLOGS              


For earlier blog postings, consult "Blog Postings" in the `Sidebar or more specialized folders


Hurwitz, Samantha "Going up? Why Two-Way Communication is Only Half Right," Fliptips (March, 2012)


"In any partnership - leader-follower, peer-peer, business partners, spouses, etc. - each partner is accountable for initiating communications and responding to the other person's communications through active listening and feedback. In other words, each partner has two distinct communication roles: two partners with two roles each = four-way communication.  It takes deliberate effort and continual development by both partners to make a dialog four-way, but the payoff is tremendous. "


Short, Lt. Col. David. 51st Maintenance Squadron commander, "Followership ...The Other Art of Leadership," Pacific Air Forces (3/18/2012)


Marquet, David "Do this! Don’t do this. How to transition from leader-follower to leader-leader," Leader-Leader: The Movement March 8,2012


The author, David Marquet, says this about himself and his movement:

"The leader-leader movement was started by former nuclear submarine commander David Marquet after he saw first-hand the debilitating effects of leader-follower, the limitations of empowerment programs, and the liberating power of treating everyone as leaders."

Tulgan, Bruce "When You Need to Be a Strong Follower, Look for the Source of the Leader’s Authority," It's Okay To Be the Boss, March 1, 2012

Tulgan, Bruce  "Sometimes Leadership-Followership in a Given Situation is Not Settled" It's Okay To Be the Boss, February 28, 2012

Tulgan, Bruce "What If You Feel Like a  Free Agent Instead of a Leader or Follower?",  It's Okay To Be the Boss. February 23, 2012


Hertig, John "The Leader's Guide to Followership," CMSA Blog (Center for Medication Safety Advancment, Purdue University) 02/01/20

Hertig presents a list of useful traits for those who work at improving  the safety of medication delivery and expands upon the work of 
Robert Kelley, citing his Harvard Business School article, "In Praise of Followers (1988).


Sharen, Colleen "Mental Models of Followership,"  Thinking Is Hard Work, January 16, 2012


Chaleff, Ira "Thoughts On Followership for 2012", Courageous Followership Blog, January 2012


Chaleff, Ira Would people choose to follow me?” Courageous Followership Blog," December 2nd, 2011 


Purdue, Lt. Col. Jarrett (86th Civil Engineering Squadron) " The Art of Followership," Ramstein Airforce Base, 12/7/2011 

This  commentary discusses the importance of exercising initiative when playing the role of follower and makes reference to an 1994 article, "The Ten Rules of Good Followership" by Col. Phillip Meilinger, published in Military Journal. 


Chaleff, Ira "Courageous Followership and Horizontal Organizations," Courageous Followership Blog,  November 10, 2011


Doughty, Bill "Interview with Ira Chaleff— Courageous Followership," Navy Reads:In support of the Navy Professional Reading Program and related books. October 30, 2011

Gimlich,  Lt. Col. Douglas (Commander, 97 Medical Support Squadron) "Be a Great Follower," Altus Airforce Base, 10/27/2011


McCollor, Chief Master Sgt. Christopher S. "Emotional intelligence, fact-based leadership and followership lead to better teamwork," Edwards Airforce Base, 09/14/2011


Robinson, Anthony B. "Good leaders need good followers. Some tips on 'followership," Crosscut.com, September 11, 2011


Beaverson, Maj. Corey "Finding balance - blind faith, skepticism have their place at right time, in moderation," Edwards Air Force Base, 09/14/2011

Major Beaverson is exploring an important concern and doing so with real-world intelligence. There is no substitute for thoughtful discernment of what is the right action in a given situation. Dr. Warren Bennis observes that Followership is more difficult than Leadership. Major Beaverson is showing a key dimension of how this is true. Mindless Followership is easy. Courageous Followership requires a careful weighing of competing values, taking initiatives based on this deliberation and assuming responsibility for one's own actions or inactions. --Ira Chaleff


Chaleff, Ira  "Army Survey Worries Over Damage Control Cuased by Toxic Leaders,"  Courageous Follower Blog, July 24, 2011

This is the latest in series of posts about followership issues that Chaleff blogs about on his website a couple of times a month. Earlier posts  are archived there. Two recent posts, for example,  include: "Studying and Transforming Extremist Followership,"  "Courageous Leadership and Followership in Congress."


Henley, Kari "How To Start a Movement in Three Minutes," Huffington Post February 11, 2011

Blog connecting leadership develop in Derek Siver's "Dancing Guy" video to this spring's uprisings against autocratic government in Tunisia and Egypt.


Stanberry, Joanna    "The dark side of corporate culture: are we blending where we should contrast?," Essential Depree: Leadership Is An Art,  03.30.2009 Blog about remaining true to one's values while functioning within an organizational culture. Follower-to-follower approach.


Dhimo, Christa (Centola) "The Exceptional Strength of Followership," Linked To Leadership: The Leadership Collaboratory,  March 28, 2011 

"This article is addressing the big picture and we need more of that in the followership field to balance the narrower focus of much followership research"~ Ira Chaleff 


Moore, Matt and Anne Murphy "Followership World Cafes-- Sidney and Melbourne  and "Speaking Up "The Followership Centre, March 25, 2011. This blog site is devoted to the topic of followership and looks at a variety of organizational issues and contemporary experiences  through that prism.  "Followership World Cafes" announces two facilitated public discussions about followership taking place in Sidney and Melbourne on April 4 and April 14, respectively.


Newham, Chris "Leader vs. Follower,"  The Leader-Follower:'Exploring  A Vision of Leadership for Collaboration and Innovation, a self-coaching model for team membership and leadership. April 4, 2006

This posting offers differentiated models between positional and non positional leadership and followership.

Woodward, Michele "Getting Unstuck: How to Figure Out Where You Want to Be — And Get There." Psychology Today, Feb. 27, 2011





For earlier articles, consult "Articles and Books" in Sidebar or more specialized folders




This website appears to be a web aggregator of articles about followership and leader-follower relations from online journals, conference sites, and collections of proposals and working papers. It mechanically incorporates the results of a .pdf search engine called: PDF Queen.  Most of the articles are available as full text if you go to the original sources. If you simply open them as .pdf files, they will not provide full citations unless these have been listed on their title page. There is an enoromous range of material from abroad as well as from the United States.  I have added a few articles and their abstrancts here, more or less at random. but strongly recommend going to this site directly and consulting it for research purposes-- Elisabeth Higgins Null


Newly revised and updated bibliography of followership compled by the bibliographic staff of  the  S. Fairchild Research Information Center at Maxwell Airfoce Base. Many online resources.




Schaubroeck, John M. and  Ping Shao "The role of attribution in how followers respond to the emotional expression of male and female leaders "  The Leadership Quarterly,Volume 23, Issue 1, Pages 27-42  Freely accassible to members of the International leadership Association


Author's abstract:

We investigated how leaders' gender interacts with anger and sadness expression and followers' attributions for their emotional expression on evaluations made by followers. In a laboratory study concerning hypothetical leaders, people evaluated the competence of male and female leaders differently depending on their emotional displays (anger vs. sadness). These differences were observed only when observers made high dispositional attributions for leaders' emotional expression. Perceived leader role-based emotional expression mediated these relationships. In a field study concerning actual leaders, dispositional attributions for sadness and anger expression were negatively related to follower perceptions of the leader, and these attributions moderated the relationships between leader gender and various follower perceptions of the leader. Leader prototype fit mediated these relationships. We discuss the implications of these findings for leadership research and practice.


Guillén, Laura and Natalia Karelaia "When opposites hurt: Similarity in control in leader-follower dyads as a predictor of job performance evaluations," ESMT European School of Management and Technology (ESMT Research Working Papers, no. ESMT-11-12), 2011 [download]

Control-related behaviors are an important attribute in leadership jobs, but do leaders appreciate being surrounded by followers with controlling personalities? Building on the self-enhancement and self-efficacy theories, we propose that leaders with high self-assessed control give better performance evaluations to subordinates who are also high in control. In contrast, leaders with low self-assessed control are quite reserved about the performance of subordinates high in control. We also propose that overall, leaders high in control evaluate more positively their followers’ performance than leaders low in control. We suggest that this difference is magnified if the leader-follower dyad is inconsistent with social norms related to age and hierarchical level. The results obtained by using polynomial regression and response surface techniques to analyze a sample of 138 leader-follower dyads supported our hypotheses showing a bias rooted in leaders’ self-assessed control. We conclude by deriving the theoretical and practical implications of these findings.


Meilinger Col. Phillip, "The Ten Rules of Good Followership," Military Journal, 1994 (republished online in AU-24 Concepts for Air Force Leadership in "Section 2 Responsibility, Ethics, Values, and the Code of Conduct")

An early article on traits associated with good followership practice.



Ba Banutu-Gomez. Michael "Great Leaders Teach Exemplary Followership and Serve As Servant Leader," Journal of American Academy of Business, Volume: 4, Issue: 1/2, 2004


Hotep, Uhuru "African Centered Leadership-Followership: Foundational Principles, Precepts, and Essential Practices,' The Journal of Pan African Studies, vol.3, no.6, March 2010

This paper examines the four cornerstones of African centered leadership-followership (ACL-F), an ethnic group specific approach to leadership devised for African people in 2000 at the Kwame Ture Leadership Institute by Dr. Uhuru Hotep. ACL-F  in the American context seeks to restore Black sovereignty in political, economic and cultural terms by incorporating African American and classical African socio-political ideals, values, practices and institutions. Finding inspiration and example in the village building traditions of the Maroons and the Exodusters, ACL-F seeks the restoration of sovereignty and Maat thru the installation of Sankofa and the Johari Sita in African American affairs. As a synthesizing project, ACL-F draws from both the W.E.B. DuBois (DuBoisian) and the Booker T. Washington (Washingtonian) schools of leadership.


Abbott, Geoffrey, "So Satisfying: Leading from the Middle in the Coast Guard" Fall 2011

Article shows that show that empowered and proactive innovators, not only can significantly improve organizational performance, but are “jazzed” about their work and have much higher job satisfaction than their peers.


Curphy, Gordon and MarK Roellig "Followership" (n.d. available as a  pdf download at the following website:


Further discussion of this  model can be found in Leadership: Enhancing the Lessons of Experience (7th ed.), co-authored by Gordon Curphy.


Suderman, Jeff  "The Umwelt of Followership," Strategic Leadership Review (09/26/2011), Download as .pdf

 By definition followers must be involved in order for the act of leadership to occur. In fact, “leaders can only lead when enabled by followers to do so”. Despite the importance of the role of followers, much more attention has been given to the study of leadership than followership. This article examines several different views of followers. Through the use of the lens of Umwelt, how environments are seen and understood idiosyncratically by different people, I will examine four different perspectives of followership; positional, power-based, situational and as partners. The context provided in each of these four areas will provide readers with a means to assess and identify unique views of followership and understand their practice and implications


Smith,  Maj. Gen. Perry "Strong leadership isn't everything -- also learn the art of 'followership'. "  Augusta Chronicle, 09/04/11


MacNeill, Neil and Stefan Silcox " Followership: Breeding out the wild genes of creativity, risk taking and entrepreneurialism in the Australian systemic principalship. " Perspectives on Educational Leadership (5). 2011

With the development of tighter controls on school decision making through a centralised curriculum, accompanied by the ongoing threats of a punitive accountability regime, the traits of creativity, risk taking and entrepreneurialism, evident and encouraged in the school leaders in the past, have been devalued by successive systemic administrations that value compliance over entrepreneurial leadership. A subtle program of eugenics is exorcising leadership, as the faceless bureaucrats reassert control in schools. As a result among school principals there is a developing fear of freedom.


Ayers, Keith  E. ""A Culture of Proactive Employees Will Let the Boss Know if His Fly Is Unzipped," Workforce Management Online, August 2011 Free subscription may be required.



Ward, Peter, Neil Lundberg, Gary Ellis, Kristen Berrett "Adolescent Peer Followership: A Self-Determination Theory Perspective," Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, Vol. 28, No. 2, (2010) 

Many adolescents voluntarily follow peer leaders who influence them to engage in antisocial and unhealthy behavior such as illegal acts and substance abuse. If professionals understood the adolescent followership phenomenon, they would be able to focus energy toward youth who are likely candidates to be peer leaders. Self-determination theory suggests adolescents are more likely to follow peer leaders who afford them autonomy to choose, an avenue for relatedness with the leader and other members of their group, and a sense of competence for the task they are doing. 


Valcea, Sorin, Maria Riaz Hamdani, M. Ronald Buckley, Milorad M. Novicevic, "Exploring the developmental potential of leader–follower interactions: A constructive-developmental approach." The Leadership Quarterly, Vol. 22, Iss. 4, 2011, pp. 604-615


Corrothers, Eve M. Major, USAF "SAY NO TO “YES MEN”: FOLLOWERSHIP IN THE MODERN MILITARY," Air Command and Staff College, Air University, Maxwell Airforce Base, 2009 

. . ."in the military, even when in leadership positions, we are all followers. As such, leaders must not forget about using the characteristics and skills they learned as good followers. Followership may not be seen as glamorous – kids want to grow up to be the president, not a member of the presidential staff. This work hopes to convey how much Air Force officers can benefit as leaders from developing and improving followership skills throughout the span of their military careers." 


Chaleff, Ira  "Should We Stand Up For or To Our Leaders?," Leadership Excellence April, 2011 [2nd page of .pdf]

Article discusses the etiquette of physically standing up when a leader's presence demands that sort of deference. What is important, the author asserts. are the feelings and motives  behind such an action and how that action ratifies or amplifies a leader's sense of power.


Sanaghan, Patrick  "Bad Advice," Inside Higher Ed, April 27 2011

Although this article describes the problems faced by college presidents when they do not receive good advice, it is applicable to many hierarchical situations. The author underscores why advice from followers is critical to a chief administrator's well being and how to  facilitate an atmosphere in which good, candid advice is forthcoming. [Download article after clicking]


Goldman, Neil "Why 'Followership' Is Critical To Much More Effective Leadership," Credit Union Journal, April 4, 2011 (subscription, free two-week trial)


Hurwitz, Marc "Followership: A 2008 White Paper." An unpublished  review of recent literature on followership complete with bibliography (pdf).


Stanberry Joanna  "Rethinking Organizational Followership: The Impact of the BBC Prison Study," February 23, 2009 (unpublished)


Mellan, Olivia, "Speaking Truth to Power: How Followers Really Lead," Investment Advisor, March 1, 2011

This is an interview with Ira Chaleff about aspects of his book,  The Courageous Follower: Standing Up To and For Our Leaders, that can benefit financial advisers and their organizations. 


Smith, Glenford, "How To Be A Great Follower," The Gleaner, February 27, 2011
""I'm pleased to see a serious article on followership being carried by one of Jamaica's leading newspapers"-- Ira Chaleff


Zhen Zhang, Mo Wang, Junqi Shi, "Leader-Follower Congruence  in Proactive Personality and Work Outcomes: The Mediating Role of LMX,"  The Academy of Management Journal, 2011 (forthcoming)

 Drawing upon proactive personality and person-environment fit literatures, we examine the congruence effect of leader’s and follower’s proactive personality on leader-member exchange (LMX) quality, which in turn influences follower’s job satisfaction, affective commitment, and job performance. Results of cross-level polynomial regressions on 165 dyads supported the congruence effect hypothesis. Further, asymmetrical incongruence effects were found such that followers had lower-quality LMX and poorer work outcomes when their proactive personality was lower than the leader’s as compared with when their proactive personality was higher. These findings highlight the pivotal role played by leaders in promoting employee proactivity at work.  


Reinfeld, Hesh "Too Many Leaders," n.d.

"I'm willing to pay for quality followers. I am even willing to pay an extra premium to find them. However, business-school faculty, who are pretending everyone will be able to be a leader, are undermining my efforts." 


Arat, Melih "The Leaders Without Followers," Today's Zamat, 12/05/10 Columnist for English-language Turkish daily newspaper writes review of Barbara Kellerman's Followership: How Followers Are Creating Change and Changing Leaders.”


Ye, Yan "FACTORS RELATING TO TEACHERS’ FOLLOWERSHIP IN INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITIES IN THAILAND ," Graduate School of Education, Assumption University of Thailand, 200 9. [.pdf]

This study was conducted to identify teachers’ followership styles; to identify the factors affecting teachers’ followership based on literature and expert interviews; to determine factors including Professionalism, Emotional Characteristics, Teamwork Attitudes, Department Climate, Satisfaction, Leadership Styles, and Teachers’ Development; and to determine the effects of  these factors on teachers’ followership in international universities in Thailand. The examined population comprised 365 randomly selected instructors from the sample universities.


Gillis, Richard "Stuck In A Time Warp," Irish Times, 11/26/2010
This articles expands upon an earlier book review  ( posted on this wiki) of Mark van Vugt and Anjana Ahuja's Selected: Why some people lead, why others follow, and why it matters. According to Gillis, the book posits that " while nobody wants workplaces to become havens of primitivism, we do seem happiest when our working environments echo facets of ancestral tribal life. So we enjoy a close-knit structure governed loosely by trusted elders in which every member is valued for his or her unique contribution to group living. That is why a high number of us crave more intimacy in the way we interact with our co-workers, bosses and civic leaders."  Gillis discusses “evolutionary leadership theory," as expounded by Selected. 
Michel, John "Kellerman Talks on Followers, Leaders," The Dartmouth, 11/11/2010
This college news article discusses a recent lecture by Barbara Kellerman, “‘Shooting an Elephant,’ or Why Be Leadership Literat?." Kellerman emphasizies the inter-relationships between leaders and followers and talks about the real dangers posed by bad followers: She asserts that bad followers can be just as destructive as bad leaders and advocates that leadership skills must be learned differently in a global environment.


Majundar, Somun  and Sharun Mukand "The Leader as Catalyst – on Leadership and the Mechanics of Institutional Change" 

(CESifo Working Paper No. 2337, June 2008, pdf download available)


Individual leaders have been central to the transformation of political institutions, organizations and many instances of social and economic reform. Why are some leaders able to take advantage of opportunities to successfully catalyze large-scale change while others fail? In this paper we argue that the key to understanding a leader’s effectiveness lies in dissecting the symbiotic nature of the leader-follower relationship. While the expected dynamism of a leader attracts followers, at the same time, followers empower the leader and contribute to his dynamism. This two-way leader-follower interaction can endogenously give rise to threshold effects: ‘small’ differences in leader ability can have a large impact on the degree of effective leadership and dramatically alter the prospects for change. The framework also naturally allows us to explore when individuals may deliberately prefer to follow an ambitious leader with very different preferences rather than a leader with more congruent preferences. Moreover, by empowering the self-interested ambitious leader, such followership may make him a more effective agent of (both good and bad) change.


 Neal, Bruno "Heroes and Sidekicks: Ensuring Proper Followership," T+D, September, 2010 (pdf)


van Gils, Suzanne; Niels van Quaquebeke; Daan van Knippenberg "The X-factor: On the relevance of implicit leadership and followership theories for leader–member exchange agreement," European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 1464-0643, Volume 19, Issue 3, First published 2010, Pages 333 – 363

Although leader–member exchange (LMX) research shows that leaders engage in different kinds of relationships with different followers, it remains somewhat of an enigma why one and the same relationship is often rated differently by a leader and the respective follower. We seek to fill that conceptual void by explaining when and why such LMX disagreement is likely to occur. To do so, we reconsider antecedents of LMX quality perceptions and outline how each party's LMX quality perception is primarily dependent on the perceived contributions of the other party, moderated by perceived own contributions. We then integrate the notion of Implicit Leadership and Followership Theories (ILTs and IFTs) to argue that the currencies of contributions differ between leaders and followers. This dyadic model sets the stage to explain that LMX disagreement can stem from (1) differences in both parties' ILTs as well as both parties' IFTs, but also from (2) differences in perceptions of own and other's behaviour. We conclude by discussing communication as a means of overcoming LMX disagreement and propose an array of potential studies along the lines of our conceptualization.


Foster, Philip A. "Leader-Follower Theory and the Transformational Organization," Leaderlab Qyarterly, Volume 1, Issue 3 (Fall 2010--scroll down page)

Leaders often seek the secret formula of leadership theory in their pursuit of effective organizational transformation. They desire a method that will aid them in efficiently moving their organization towards specified goals and objectives with the least amount of resistance. The goal of this paper is to address the leader-follower theory and its use in the transformational organization. This paper will address the attributes of humility and servant leadership and its contribution to the effectiveness of the leader-follower theory towards organizational transformation.


Foster, Philip A. " Leader-Follower Theory for the Learning Organization," Unpublished Paper, pdf 11/21/10 


King, Andrew J., Dominic J.P. Johnson, Mark Van Vogt "The Origins and Evolution of Leadership" (review article), Current Biology 10/13/09


Miller, Richard L.,  Jeanne Butler, Charles J. Cosentino "Followership effectiveness: an extension of Fiedler's contingency model," Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 2004

As a means of extending Fiedler's contingency model of leadership effectiveness to followership behavior, this study examined the relationship between followers' motivational disposition as measured by the least preferred co-worker scale, modified to refer to leaders (LPL), situational favorability as reflected in leader-member relations and follower experience, and followers' performance as measured by US Army enlisted efficiency report (EER). Participants were male, junior enlisted personnel serving with the US Army, Europe. The results indicated that in accordance with Fiedler, relations-oriented followers performed better in moderately favorable situations while task oriented followers performed better in highly unfavorable situations. In contrast to Fiedler, relations-oriented followers performed better in highly favorable conditions.


Cornelis Ilse; Alain Van Hiel; David De Cremer, "Birds of a feather: Leader-follower similarity and procedural fairness effects on cooperation,"  European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 09 /19/10

Abstract: The present article examines to what extent leader-follower similarity moderates the effect of procedural justice on followers' cooperation. Using subjective operationalizations of similarity in a vignette study, a field study and an experimental lab study, we demonstrated that the enactment of fair procedures elicits the highest levels of cooperation when followers perceive the leader as similar. This was true when similarity was framed in broad, deep-level terms (Study 1 and 2) or in terms of a single, specific characteristic, i.e., the need to belong (Study 3). In the discussion we elaborate on possible explanatory mechanisms and on the broader context of an integrative approach to leadership research.


Useem, Michael "Leading Your Boss," The Economic Times (India).  11/13/03

Practical assessment of the risks and benefits of leading from below that argues that doing so effectively benefits the organization and all concerned/


Hetland, Hilde, Gro Mjeldheim Sandal, and Tom Backer Johnsen Followers' Personality and Leadership Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies  May 2008   vol. 14  no. 4  322-331

The study presented in this article investigates how the personality of subordinates is related to leadership, an area largely neglected in prior research.


Shondrick, Sara J.  and Robert C. Lord "Implicit Leadership and Followership Theories: Dynamic Structures for Leadership Perceptions, Memory, and Leader-Follower Processes," International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology 2010, Volume 25 (John Wiley and Sons Ltd)


Ballus, J. "The Organization is Flat and Friendly: The Genesis of Leadership and Followership Thought To The Interdependence Continuum to" The Sports Digest" ( United States Sports Academy: 2002-2010)


Gillis, Richard "Stuck In A Time Warp,"   


Hrivnak, George "The Influence of Follower Personality and Affect on Their Perceptions of Transformational Leadership,"  George Washington University, (pdf), n.d. (Doctoral candidate)

This study examines the role of two sets of follower characteristics on perceptions of leadership behavior:
personality and dispositional affect. Utilizing a sample of approximately 150 NROTC Midshipmen, this study found that elements of both individual personality and affect predicted followers’ perceptions of transformational leadership behavior.


Jorgensen, Ray "Followership In a System," Jorgensen Learning Center (online article may be me more easily read in its self print or pdf format )

Jorgensen posits here  that "bosses demand compliance while leaders enroll people in vision" and further maintains that "bosses" are thrust upon employees who have little or no choice in the matter. Leaders, however, are chosen and sustain that role through "ongoing conversation and providing visionary guidance that helps people understand how they fit in."


Rodger Adair says he has found a great article that talks about courageous followers! You have to subscribe (free) to read the article but the site itself should be interesting to many members of this learning community:
 Shade, Jenny "Why Corporate Success Depends on 'Invincible' Employees: Nurtured by strong leadership, the 'invincibles' can pull organizations through turbulent times. (May, 2010)

Carsten, Mary Uhl-Bien, Bradley J. West, Jaime L. Patera, Rob McGregor "Exploring social constructions of followership: A qualitative study," The Leadership Quarterly, Volume 21, Issue 3,  Pages 543-562 (June 2010)


This study adopts a qualitative approach to deconstruct the meaning of followership. Interviews were conducted with employees in various industries to examine how individuals socially construct their roles as followers and to explore followership schemas and contextual influences that relate to these constructions. Results suggest that while some individuals socially construct definitions around passivity, deference and obedience, others emphasize the importance of constructively questioning and challenging their leaders. With regard to personal qualities that are thought to make followers effective, major themes such as obedience, expressing opinions, and taking initiative were found to be most disparate across different groups of followers. Results also revealed that contextual factors may affect both followership constructions and behavior in the follower role. These findings have important implications regarding a need to examine the construct of followership in leadership research, as well as raise interesting possibilities for advancing an “expanded” view of leadership in organizations



 Stam, Daan , Daan van Knippenberg and Barbara Wisse "Focusing on followers: The role of regulatory focus and possible selves in visionary leadership,"  The Leadership Quarterly, Volume 21, Issue 3,  Pages 457-468 (June 2010)


Vision communication is considered to be essential for leaders to mobilize followers, but knowledge of how and why vision communication may influence followers is scarce. We argue that visions may invite followers to create an ideal self (a desired image of the self). Subsequent consideration of this ideal self may motivate followers to make the ideal self (and thus the vision) reality. Furthermore, we propose that visions that focus on followers (by addressing followers personally and involving them in the vision) are more likely to lead to the creation of an ideal self and hence to higher follower performance than visions that do not focus on followers. Moreover, we argue that this effect is particularly strong for followers with a promotion self-regulatory focus, a focus on reaching ideals and ideal selves, because promotion focus causes sensitivity to the presence or absence of ideals (Higgins, 1987, 1996, 1997). The results of two experiments support our predictions.



Wang, L., Hinrichs, K. T. , Prieto, L., & Black, J. A. (2010).  The effect of followers' behavior on leader efficacy.   Journal of Business and Management.


Chaleff, Ira  " Promoting the healthy flow of information to senior leaders," Leader to Leader,  Spring. 2010 pp.12-16


Mayseless, Ofra "Attachment and the leader—follower relationship," Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Vol. 27, No. 2, 271-280 (2010)

 Leader—follower relationships have been thought to involve attachment dynamics, in particular when these relationships have an affective component. In this paper, I consider why and under what circumstances followers form attachment relationships with a leader and how both a follower’s and a leader’s attachment representations can affect the quality and characteristics of their relationship. Results from several studies, focused on different contexts and cultures, indicate that secure individuals tend to be nominated as leaders, and that leaders’ attachment security is associated with pro-social and follower-empowering leadership styles, leadership effectiveness, and positive outcomes for followers. I suggest promising directions for future research (e.g., the study of attachment to political or destructive leaders) and emphasize the importance of contextual moderators (military vs. commercial organizations) and leaders’ "caregiving" behavior.


Kupers, Wendelin and Juergen Weibler "Interleadership: why and how should we think of leadership and followership integrally?"  Leadership, Volume 4 Issue 4, 2008 pages 443 - 475

This article raises questions about and providesmeta-paradigmatic perspectives on an integralunderstanding of leadership. In view of the various shortcomings of conventional leadership discourse, anintegral orientation considers that leadershipresearch demands a comprehensive framework and multi-level approach suited for investigating the complex, interrelatedprocesses involved. Correspondingly, theoutlined integral framework of leadership covers the interdependent subjective, intersubjective andobjective dimensions of leaders and leadership.Furthermore, developmental levels and lines — classified in a dynamic cycle — open up aprocessual understanding of leadership.Finally, theoretical and methodological implications are discussed and some avenues for future research andperspectives of integral leadership presented.


Cremer, David de and E. van Dijk, "Leader-follower effects in resource dilemmas: The roles of leadership selection and social responsibility," Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM). ERIM Article Series (EAS), 2008-2007 pp.355-369.

Previous research on the allocation of scarce resources shows that when people are assigned labels of leader or follower in their group, leaders allocate more of the scarce resources to themselves than followers do. In three laboratory studies, we examine the idea that how people are selected for the leader role (i.e. election or appointment) determines whether leaders take more or equal shares (relative to followers) from a common resource. In a first experiment, we show that participants were more accepting of norm violating behavior by an appointed versus elected leader. In a second experiment, we show that when participants were assigned to a leader or follower role, allocations of appointed leaders differed significantly from those of elected leaders and followers, whereas there was no difference between the two latter conditions. Moreover, elected leaders were shown to feel more social responsibility than both appointed leaders and followers. In a final experiment, we show that when participants were primed with the concept of social responsibility (relative to a neutral condition) no difference in allocations between appointed and elected leaders emerged.


Johnson, Craig E. "Introducing Followership into the Leadership Classroom: An Integrative Approach," Journal of Leadership Education Vol. 8, no.2, 2009 pp.20-31. The whole  is downloaded as a .pdf file.

I recommend this article and picked up at least one pedagogic technique from it myself—

Ira Chaleff




Keller, Tiffany and Ron Cacioppe "Leader-follower attachments: understanding parental images at work," Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol 22, issue 2, 2001

This article examines how attachment styles may influence relationships with followers. Specifically, early family relationships result in three types of attachment styles that may impact current interpersonal dynamics between leaders and followers. We consider why attachments develop, how attachments may influence follower and leader behavior, and the dynamics of different attachment styles. Finally, we suggest that attachment theory can be an important addition to leadership theories that focus on understanding how followers and leaders interact based on interpersonal dynamics. 


Blugstad, Kent and Elizabeth C. Thach, Karen J. Thompson, and Alan Morris "A Fresh Look at Followership: A Model for Matching Followership and Leadership Style," Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management, Vol. 7, no.3 , 2006

Followership has been an understudied topic in the academic literature and an underappreciated topic among practitioners. Although it has always beenimportant, the study of followership has become even more crucial with the

advent of the information age and dramatic changes in the workplace. This paper provides a fresh look at followership by providing a synthesis of theliterature and presents a new model for matching followership styles to leadership styles. The model’s practical value lies in its usefulness for describing how leaders can best work with followers, and how followers can best work with



Kuper, Wendelin, "Transformational emotional competent “Leader-Followership as Medium for Enhanced Goodness in Organizations," Abstract for CMS 2003

The aim of the paper is to show how an emotional competent transformational “leader-followership” can serve as a medium for the enhancement of the individual and collective goodness. In today's economy, ubiquitous, continuous and dynamic changes are all-pervasive in organizations (Armenakis/Bedeian 1999) which requires also a changed practice of

Transformational Leadership itself (Bass 1985; Tichy & Devanna 1985; 1990 Hesselbein etal. 1996). Based on this insight the paper will develop an integrative approach which offers a new focus on a transformed “Leader-Follower-Relationship” related to an extended understanding of goodness. For this, implicit assumptions of conventional Transformational Leadership theories need to be critised and the concept extended to a more relational understanding. In contrast to the “heroic leadership” stereotype (Yukl 1999, Calder 1977,Meindl et al 1985, Meindl, 1990, 1993; Kelley 1992, Chaleff 1995), which focused primarily on independent individuals and a unidirectional influence between the leader and the follower,the paper regards the reciprocal, multi-dimensional and multi-level processes and possibilities of a shared “Leader-Follower-Ship” between both. By transcending the leadership/followership dualism (Hollander 1992, 1993) and considering and managing relational dimensions and inter-connectedness (Luke 1991) on all levels a “full-range leadership system” (Avolio 1999) can be attained.








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