Healthy Leaders


Everything Does Not Depend on Leadership (from Healthy Followers)

Malcolm WebberMalcolm Webber

An understanding of followership is necessary in the discussion of leadership for several reasons:

  1. Everyone – including leaders – is a follower at one time or another in their lives. Most individuals, even those in positions of high authority, have a supervisor of some kind. In fact, for many people it is not uncommon to switch between being a leader and being a follower several times during the course of a single day. For example, in an organization, middle managers answer to vice presidents, who answer to CEOs, who answer to boards of directors. Moreover, research on high-performance teams has demonstrated that the most successful teams are those that have a great deal of role-switching among team members concerning who is serving in a leadership role at any given time.

Consequently, leaders need to understand effective followership so that they can be better followers and leaders themselves, and so they can help their constituents be better followers and leaders.

The popular conception that “everything depends on leadership” is not entirely correct. Without willing and effective followers, the greatest of leaders will fail.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable … (1 Corinthians 12:21-22)

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