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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 ILA  Join ILA.





Jordan, James P. has completed his dissertation, "An Investigation of Exemplary Acts of Followership: A Multiple Case Study Design," 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 




"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]  





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. 




Love is a key element in productive leader-follower and coach-employee relationships. To be an effective coach, you have to care about the person you are coaching. It’s not that you should fall passionately in love with everyone you work with. However, you need to find something to care deeply about in your business and in each individual that touches your business. And it has to be real—and they have to know it. . . .Great business relationships are won in ways analogous to romantic relationships: by paying nearly obsessive attention to the needs, desires, hopes, and aspirations of the other person; by knowing not only when to stand firm on your principles but also when to sacrifice your short-term needs for the long-term relationship; and by proving through your actions that you mean it.


from Steve Farber's "Extreme Leaders: They Take A Radical Leap," SpeakersOffice, Inc. (07/09/10)


                                                  RECENT BLOGS              


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


Petty, Art "Leadership Caffeine: Strengthen as a Leader by Developing as a Follower," Management Excellence, 10/18/10

Blog aims at practitioners and, in this particular post, posits "Six Ways To Grow and Develop as a Follower Without Compromising Your Integrity" which seem to be independently arrived at. They cover several key points stressed by current followership literature.--EHN


Chaleff, Ira "Intelligent Disobedience: What Guide Dogs and Service Dogs Know that Humans Can Learn," 10/06/2010

Chow, Wilfred  "Banks and governance: Will the U.S Financial Reform Act be enough to restore trust in Wall Street?" Ethical Corporation (2010)


Part of the problem for banks is their closed culture, something regulation will not be able to change. . .


John Paul Rollert hosts a series of blogs with several student entries on followership for a course he is teaching on leadership at Harvard University's Summer School (2010). Most of the entries look at work from a follower's perspective as set forth by key cultural works, ancient and modern. You will find several entries on followership in the sidebar and here are two examples:


"Ehrenreich's Followership Analysis," Gramsci (07/26/10)

"Followership: 'Office Space' " clip from film included], Arendt (07/16/10)


Sivers, Derek "Leadership Lessons From Dancing Guy" (10/02/11)

Transcript of short talk before TED Conference accompanied by influential, viral video.






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




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)


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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