Posted by: Chris | 26/05/2009

Leadership and Followership

When one of my colleagues came to me last week, she told me about a seminar she had attended where Barbara Kellermann talked about  Followership. This was the first time I had heard this term (at least in English) and it made me think.

When I look what makes a company or country, it is ultimately its people. It is not only the leaders who define strategy and prescribe execution – it is all of us who actually execute and work towards the strategic goals. When things don’t go as planned (i.e., wrong) it is an easy excuse to point to the leaders – but in reality it is each and everyone of us – we’re all responsible. If we follow bad orders, act against common sense and good morals, we’re just as guilty as the people who issued these orders.

It comes down to civil courage, taking personal responsibility and accepting the risk of doing so. If my employees live up to these ideals, I know my organization will work better and be more effective, than if they were just to follow orders without reflection. I am glad to be working in a research environment, where most things get decided rather by debate than authority – and this is not only true for questions of science but also for everything else.



  1. You and your readers might be interested in The Followership Exchange, a wiki hosted by the International Leadership Association and co-administered by myself and by ira Chaleff, author of The Courageous Follower: Standing Up To and For Our Leaders. It looks at followership and leader/follower relations (from a follower perspective). It features resources and research, commentary, events.

    Check it out!

  2. The first time I heard about followership was at my son’s Harvard graduation, where the outgoing dean of students wished that they would all be good followers. There is some merit in that viewpoint, for sure!

  3. […] I picked up the quote below a while ago, but was avoiding writing about it. May be I should just quote it: Matthias Kaiserswerth on Leadership and Followership […]

  4. Most likely You Also Make These kind of Slip ups With bag !

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