Monday, August 30, 2010


Everyone talks about leadership and its importance, but this is quite clearly problematic. Not everyone can be a leader, and the use of the word "can" is meant in both senses. Some lack the ability, and furthermore the scenario where everyone is a leader and leading simultaneously is patently absurd.

Perhaps we should consider the opposite art of followership, for the very emphasis on leadership projects a skewed perception of affairs. Should all the credit and blame lie solely on the leader, the man on the top? Of course not. And then, if we acknowledge that it is the entity as a whole that is important, why then do we only teach people leadership, but not equivalently teach people to follow?

In my conception, followership may be more complex and less monolithic than leadership, for the sole reason that whereas leadership goes from one to many, followership goes from many to one, and many to many. There are a variety of roles that can be adopted as a follower in a team, each offering various possible benefits and detriments. Finding the right mix, and teaching it, is probably difficult.

Clearly, I ramble on too much about a subject about which I know nothing about. However, I do find the emphasis on leadership amusing, but then again, I suppose it's not every attractive to tell an employer that "I'm trained in followership'"!

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