Countless studies, workshops, and books have focused on leaders--the charismatic ones, the retiring ones, even the crooked ones. Virtually no literature exists about followers, however, and the little that can be found tends to depict subordinates as an amorphous group or explain their behavior in the context of leaders' development. Some works even fail to sufficiently distinguish among varying types of followers--barely registering the fact that those who tag along mindlessly are a breed apart from those who are deeply devoted and consciously, actively involved. These distinctions have critical implications for the way leaders should lead and managers should manage, according to Kellerman, a professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Additionally, today's followers are influenced by a range of cultural and technological changes that have affected what they want and how they view and communicate with their ostensible leaders. In this article, Kellerman explores the evolving dynamic between leaders and subordinates and offers a typology that managers can use to determine and appreciate how their followers are different from one another. Using the level of engagement with a leader or group as a defining factor, the author segments followers into five types: Isolates are completely detached, they passively support the status quo with their inaction. Bystanders are free riders who are somewhat detached, depending on their self-interests. Participants are engaged enough to invest some of their own time and money to make an impact. Activists are very much engaged, heavily invested in people and process, and eager to demonstrate their support or opposition. And diehards are so engaged they're willing to go down with the ship--or throw the captain overboard.
Estimated Submission On |