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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 one of the administrators, 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 ILAJoin ILA.




ILA 's 12th Annual Global Conference - Leadership 2.0: Time for Action

Boston, MA, USA - October 27 - 30, 2010


There will be a "business" meeting as well as a conference session of particular interest to members of the Followership  Learning Community: 


"Complex Realities: The Birth or Death of Followership in the 21st Century," planned for the ILA's 12th Annual Global Conference in Boston this October.  John Dentico and Susan Keim definitely will be taking part along with Ira Chaleff. John Alexander may also attend. 


View More about the conference

Questions - contact Josh Tarr at jtarr@ila-net.org 


"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 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 creating 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. [See the press release in full context]


Last Sunday, June 26th, marked a little-known but veryimportant 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.








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


Kellerman, Barbara "General McChrystal's Failure of Followership," "The Conversation," Harvard Business Review, June 2, 2010


Cohen, Gary "Followership," "Just Ask Leadership," CO2 n.d.

[Introduction] Although the importance of a good leader cannot be denied, followers also play an equally important, if often overlooked, role in the success of any group or organization. We believe the strength of any team is in the followers and there can be no leaders without followers, but the vast majority of research to date has focused on the leadership side of this equation. Researchers have only recently given serious consideration to the topics of followers and followership. This research has revealed several interesting questions and findings.


Morris, Robert  "Interview: ira Chaleff," First Friday Book Synopsis July 6, 2010

This interview draws heavily on the new chapter in The Courageous Follower's 3rd edition on leader-follower hierarchical relations and connects his insights with the non-partisan work he has done for years (with The Congressional Management Foundation) coaching members of congress and their staff.


McCrimmon, Mitch "Beyond Leaders and Followers," Lead 2XL ()6/26/2010)

MCCrimmon continues to develop his argument for abandoning what he terms  "the language of followership" in complex organizations.




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 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


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.


Oudheusden, Katrijn van "The Art of Following," Foundation for European Leadership Paper Number 1. May 2005

The Foundation for European Leadership, assumed, at the time this article was written, that the subject of following was almost non-existent in the literature on leadership. It also asserts that if following is discussed at all, it is discussed as a derivative of leadership and not as a subject in its own right. To fill the void concerning theories on following, three authors of the Dutch consultancy Berenschot have developed a model of followership, with archetypes of good and bad follower behaviour. Their independently arrived at views are outlined in this paper. Practices from Shell, ABN AMRO, and TNT Group are used to illustrate organizational views on followership. This paper concludes that the leader – follower dichotomy is a false paradox. Following and leading are not roles or even mindsets, but internal activities within the same person that can switch from leading to following and back again in an instant. What is needed in organizations is heavy followership and light leadership. The full article is available as a .pdf file.


Adair, Rodger "The Psychological Distance within the Dynamics of the Leader/Follower Relationship," Kravis Leadership Institute, Leadership Review, Vol. 10, Winter 2010, pp. 27 - 38

For the last few decades (1980's through the present), the majority of social psychology research into leadership dynamics of an organization has focused on the management employee, treating the rank and file with cursory interest through studies on productivity, job satisfaction and retention. With the introduction of the terms "Follower" and "Followership" injected into the leadership/management vocabulary, social psychologists and leadership consultants began taking a fresh new look at the human side of work. This new line of inquiry focuses on the follower in the organization, while this paper takes a close look at the leader-follower dynamic in the workplace. The literature review identified eight workforce relationship factors as common themes within the leader-follower relationship. These selected categories identify the multifaceted leader-follower dynamic to working relationships, showing whether leader and the follower have a distal (or psychologically distant), or proximal (or psychologically aligned) relationship, and whether each is comfortable with their working arrangement (positive or negative). To better illuminate this interaction of opposites, a case scenario will be employed to describe how proximal and distal interactions look before and after an upsetting workplace event.


McCrimmon, Mitch "Derailing the Followership Bandwagon," [unpublished, 2009] is available for downloading as an MSWord document in the sidebar folder entitled "Conversations, Debates, and Queries." Because this article is a dowload, one must click on a page also entitle "Conversations, Debates, and Queries" in order to access it.


This article has genersted a response from Ira Chaleff (Chaleff's Response to McCrimmon) and a return post from Mitch McCrimmon (McCrimmon's Response to Chaleff). These occurred as a series of email exchanges in late November -early December, 2009.


Amabile, Teresa M. and Steven J. Kramer, 1."What Really Motivates Workers: Understanding the Power of Progress," (The HBR List: Breakthrough Ideas for 2010)

Harvard Business Review (January-February 2010)


In The Harvard Business Review, the headlining breakthrough idea (out of ten) for 2010 is that what motivates "knowledge workers" the most is not recognition, incentives, interpersonal support, or clear goals. It's a sense of progress. "On days when workers have the sense they're making headway in their jobs, or when they receive support that helps them overcome obstacles," the authors write, "their emotions are most positive and their drive to succeed is at its peak." On the other hand, days when they spin their wheels or encounter roadblocks to meaningful accomplishment, their moods and motivation are lowest. The article is based on a multiyear study that tracked day-to-day activities, emotions, and motivation levels of hundreds of knowledge workers in a wide range of settings. So what advice does The Business Review offer to those in charge? "Scrupulously avoid impeding progress by changing goals autocratically, being indecisive, or holding up resources. Negative events generally have a greater effect on people's emotions, perceptions, and motivation than positive ones, and nothing is more demotivating than a setback -- the most prominent type of event on knowledge workers' worst days."

Read more: http://hbr.org/2010/01/the-hbr-list-breakthrough-ideas-for-2010/ar/1


Sinha, Paresha N. and Brad Jackson "A Burkean Inquiry into Leader-Follower Identification Motives, "  Culture and Organization: The official journal of the Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism. Volume 12, Issue 3 September 2006 , pages 233 - 247

The primary goal of this paper is to develop a rhetorically based understanding of the dynamics of the identification process between transformational or charismatic leaders and their followers. We bring to bear Burke's theory of identification in an effort to provide a finely nuanced and deeply rooted conceptualization of follower identification that we perceive to be a weakness of the transformational/charismatic leadership discourse. A secondary goal is to evaluate leader-follower identification motives to reveal the potential for 'questionable' motives on the part of both leaders and followers. A dramaturgical model is utilized to reveal the dramatic struggle that underlies the leader-follower identification process. We suggest that Goffman's views on morality and manipulation can provide a useful supplement to Burke's theory of identification as it highlights the performative aspects of transformational and charismatic leadership.


 Glasoslash, Lars and Staringle Einarsen "Emotion regulation in leader-follower relationships," European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, Volume 17, Issue 4 December 2008 , pages 482 - 500

This study investigates the extent to which leaders and followers express, suppress or fake their emotions during interaction, using a sample of 135 leaders and 207 followers. The respondents completed questionnaires on emotion regulation, the relationship quality between leaders and followers (LMX), job satisfaction, and health complaints. The data indicate that negative emotions such as disappointment, uncertainty, and annoyance are typically suppressed, while positive emotions such as enthusiasm, interest, and calmness are typically expressed or faked. The reported level of emotion regulation was higher for leaders than for followers. Suppressing and faking emotions correlated negatively with the LMX and job satisfaction, and positively with health complaints among both groups. Emotion regulation is thus a prominent and complex facet of leader – follower relationships with possible negative effects for both leaders and followers.


Negash G. Medhin,  Wei Wan "Leader-follower games in marketing: a differential game approach,"   International Journal of Mathematics in Operational Research 2010 - Vol. 2, No.2  pp. 151 - 177

      Abstract:    In normal differential game models, players are assumed to make decisions simultaneously. Thus, a competitor does not know the decision policies of others as he decides on his own strategy or control. However, in reality, it is not unusual for competitors to make decisions at different times. Thus, the roles of competitors are not always the same. Some competitors have priority in making decisions of policy over others. Those who make decisions first are called leaders, the others are called followers. This type of game is called Leader-Follower (L-F) or Stackelberg game. The solution of such a game is no longer in terms of Nash equilibrium. In this paper, we consider an L-F differential game to model competition in the final stage of a product life cycle in a non-symmetric market environment, derive and solve the optimality conditions in terms of a new definition of solution..


Linecker, Adelia Cellini "Ways To Back Your Boss," Investor's Business Daily (12/30/09) offers tips to middle managers, executive assistants, and others serving as gatekeepers for leaders higher up the chain of command. Based on  an interview with Ira Chaleff.


Van Gils Suzanne, Niels van Quaquebeke,  and Daan van Knippenberg "The X-Factor: On the Relevance of Implicit Leadership and Followership Theories for Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) Agreement," ERIM report series research in management Erasmus Research Institute of Management (11/20/09). Research Paper available online in PDF.

While 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. This paper seeks to fill that conceptual void by explaining when and why such LMX disagreement is likely to occur.


Townsend, Pat and Joan E. Gebhardt "For service to work right, skilled leaders need skills in “followership," Managing Service Quality. vol.7, issue 3, 1997

One definition of a leader is a person who has followers. Argues that, to be a skilled leader, the role of follower needs to be clearly understood - indeed a good leader should make a good follower _ and that somewhere within this concept is the very basis of teamwork. Using examples from the US military and the world of sport, explains the authors’ understanding of followership in relation to today’s business context, and offers a series of guidelines for effective “followership”.


Meilinger, Col Phillip S. "The Ten Rules of Good Followership," n.d. (pdf)








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