Followership: How Followers Are Creating Change and Changing Leaders

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Overview


This groundbreaking volume provides the first sweeping view of followers in relation to their leaders, deliberately departing from the leader-centric approach that dominates our thinking about leadership and management. Barbara Kellerman argues that, over time, followers have played increasingly vital roles. For two key reasons, this trend is now accelerating. Followers are becoming more important, and leaders less. Through gripping stories about a range of people and places—from multinational corporations such as Merck, to Nazi Germany, to the American military after 9/11—Kellerman makes key distinctions among five different types of followers: Isolates, Bystanders, Participants, Activists, and Diehards. And she explains how they relate not only to their leaders but also to each other. Thanks to Followership, we can finally appreciate the ways in which those with relatively fewer sources of power, authority, and influence are consequential. Moreover, they are getting bolder and more strategic. As Kellerman makes crystal clear, to fixate on leaders at the expense of followers is to do so at our peril. The latter are every bit as important as the former, which makes this book required reading for superiors and subordinates alike.
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Editorial Reviews

The Financial Times
. . . this is a constructive and careful analysis of what it means to be a follower.
The Wall Street Journal
Kellerman argues that a big organization's fate can be surprisingly dependent on how well it understands thousands of low-ranking employees, and makes them more effective.
Publishers Weekly

Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government professor Kellerman (Bad Leadership) shifts the focus from leadership to "followership," arguing that followers are every bit as important as leaders. Defining followers as subordinates who have less power, authority and influence than their superiors, and who usually, but not always, fall into line, she notes that we are all followers at different points in time. Followers, Kellerman argues, are getting bolder and more strategic, less likely to know their place and affecting work places, to mixed results. She identifies five types of followers based upon level of engagement: Isolate, Bystander, Participant, Activist and Diehard. She explores each type, with examples ranging from Nazi Germany to Merck to the U.S. military's Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan. She also explores the relationships between leaders and followers, who, Kellerman argues, should be thought of as inseparable. Followership is not about changing the rank of followers, Kellerman states, but instead about changing their response to their rank, their superiors and the situation at hand. Thorough and insightful, Kellerman provides a fascinating look at a little-explored topic, which will be of great interest to both leaders and followers. (Feb.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781422103685
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
  • Publication date: 2/11/2008
  • Series: Center for Public Leadership
  • Pages: 305
  • Sales rank: 467,200
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Barbara Kellerman is James MacGregor Burns Lecturer in Public Leadership at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. Among her many books on leadership, she is author of Bad Leadership: What It Is, How It Happens, Why It Matters.
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