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September 6, 2010

The Art of Followership


How Great Followers Create Great Leaders and Organizations
Ronald E. Riggio, Ira Chaleff and Jean Lipman-Blumen, Editors
2008 by Ronald E. Riggio, Ira Chaleff, and Jean Lipman-Blumen Adapted by permission of Jossey-Bass ISBN: 978-0-7879-9665-9

Introduction
When conducting business research, leaders have received the bulk of the attention, while followers have been mostly overlooked. Inspired by a groundbreaking conference held in 2006 called Rethinking Followership, The Art of Followership editors Ronald E. Riggio, Ira Chaleff, and Jean Lipman-Blumen have assembled a group of essays that explore followership as a role, relationship, and process. The authors featured in The Art of Followership attempt to redefine followership, describe effective followership, highlight the challenges associated with being a follower, and identify future areas of research needed on both leaders and followers. a more follower-centric leadership model is beginning to develop. There are five basic styles of followership: 1. The sheep. Followers in this group are passive. They expect the leader of the group to think for them and to provide motivation. 2. The yes-people. Individuals in this category side with the leader, but they still want the leader to provide thinking, direction, and vision for the group. 3. The alienated. Employees who are alienated think for themselves. However, they bring a considerable amount of negative energy into the workplace. They view themselves as the only people who are strong enough to confront and disagree with management. 4. The pragmatics. Followers in this group do not express an opinion until they see where popular

Defining and Redefining Followership


Little by little, scholars and business practitioners have begun to recognize the significance of followers in organizations. The research literature suggests that

Business Book Summaries September 6, 2010 Copyright 2010 EBSCO Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Art of Followership

Ronald E. Riggio, Ira Chaleff and Jean Lipman-Blumen

opinion in the organization lies. Once they see where things are headed, then they support the leaders. 5. The star followers. These individuals are independent thinkers. They tend to be very active and also exude positive energy. Most executives do not want all star followers. This preference is based on concerns about keeping star followers challenged and satisfied. However, the reality is that companies with a higher percentage of star followers actually boast better performance than other firms. This is due to the fact that star followers do not rely on their managers for direction. One of followers primary responsibilities is to keep managers in check from an ethical and a legal standpoint. Experts believe that followers are an organizations primary defenders against both toxic leaders and dysfunctional dynamics. A crucial part of being a follower is the ability to make ethical judgments, to proactively promote activities that are both ethical and legal, and to stand up against improper behavior. There are three steps that organizations can take to support employees when they need to exercise courageous conscience. These include: 1. Teaching individuals that an essential and mandatory part of followership is courageous conscience. 2. Helping people find the personal courage that is needed to exercise their courageous conscience. 3. Preparing followers to be successful when they do make a stand. Followership can be viewed as an interactive role, an independent role, or a shifting role. A follower who takes on an interactive role orientation builds collaborative and supportive relationships, defends the leader in front of others, helps the leader avoid costly mistakes, and shows a willingness to participate in organizational changes. The independent role causes followers to act more independently of their managers. This role is often prevalent when employees have considerable levels of professional education. These individuals can complete their work assignments without technical guidance from managers. It is also common in lean organizations where there are not

Key Concepts
The Art of Followership provides a variety of viewpoints about followership as a role, relationship, and process. 1. One of followers primary responsibilities is to keep managers in check from an ethical and legal standpoint. 2. The majority of followers do not confront toxic leaders because the cost of escape is too high. In addition, it is almost impossible for followers to act as lone dissenters. 3. Ordinary people will often follow destructive and harmful orders, even when they do not harbor hatred toward their victims. 4. Despite the popular view that some people are natural leaders while others are followers, some believe that a better model is one in which leadership and followership are roles that can be assumed at different times by members of groups, teams or organizations. 5. If organizations want to cultivate an empowered style of followership, then strategies must be developed that support this approach.
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Information about the editors and subject: www.courageousfollower.net Information about this book and other business titles: www.josseybass.com Related summaries in the BBS Library: Followership A Practical Guide to Aligning Leaders and Followers By Tom Atchison The Allure of Toxic Leaders Why We Follow Destructive Bosses and Corrupt Politicians and How We Can Survive Them By Jean Lipman-Blumen

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The Art of Followership

Ronald E. Riggio, Ira Chaleff and Jean Lipman-Blumen

large numbers of middle managers. The shifting role is often assumed by people who alternate between leadership and followership. This role is common in flexible organizations that use team-based work structures.

One author suggests that a leader-follower paradigm is the most common model used in the leadership literature. The underlying assumption is that some people are destined to be leaders, while natural followers are loyal In a world of instant communication, rapid technological to leaders and conform to their advance, and globalization, the traditional view of the leader instructions. Despite the popularity of this view, some believe as commander, chief, director, or boss simply does not permit that a shift is necessary. The term organizations, nations, communities, or associations to adapt follower may no longer be appli- to their ever-changing environments. cable in the 21st century because it continues to promote the view that leadership is someEffective Followership thing that only leaders do. Some have suggested that it If organizations want to cultivate an empowered style may be useful to change the word follower to particiof followership, then strategies must be developed that pant, contributor, member, or associate. support this approach. The second section of The Art of Followership defines the courageous follower The leadership-followership state paradigm may be a and then explores how its concepts are reinforced better model for the 21st century. This paradigm in the Georgetown University Professional Manager states that both leadership and followership are roles Certificate program and the Leadership Alchemy prothat can be assumed at different times by members gram at NASA. This section of the book also describes the 4-D Followership Model and explains how leadership concepts have pervaded non-business realms, such as the college admissions process.

of working groups, teams, or organizations. One of the assumptions of the leadership-followership paradigm is that expertise is distributed among the members of a team, workgroup, or organization. As a result, influence is based on expertise, knowledge, and skills. In some cases, the leadership-followership state paradigm can cause problems because it requires individuals in positions of authority to relinquish some of their power.

About the Authors

Ronald E. Riggio is the director of the Henry R. Kravis Leadership Institute at Claremont McKenna College. He is co-editor of The Practice of Leadership and Improving Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations, and co-author of Transformational Leadership. Ira Chaleff is president of Executive Coaching & Consulting Associates, adjunct faculty at Georgetown University, and author of The Courageous Follower: Standing Up to and for Our Leaders. Jean Lipman-Blumen is Thorton F. Bradshaw Professor of Public Policy and professor of organizational behavior at the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management, Claremont University. He is also author of The Allure of Toxic Leadership and Connective Leadership.

In the book The Courageous Follower, Ira Chaleff suggests that both leaders and followers serve a common purpose. Both roles can be honorable if they are approached with strength and accountability. Chaleff outlines five dimensions of the Courageous Followers attitudes and behaviors: 1. Courageous followers have the strength necessary to support the leader and do everything possible to contribute to his or her success. 2. Courageous followers take responsibility for the organizations common purpose. They act whether or not they have received direct orders from the leader. 3. Courageous followers constructively challenge the leaders behavior if it poses a threat to the common purpose.
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Business Book Summaries September 6, 2010 Copyright 2010 EBSCO Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Art of Followership

Ronald E. Riggio, Ira Chaleff and Jean Lipman-Blumen

4. Courageous followers take part in any transformation needed to enhance the leader-follower relationship or the organizations performance. 5. Courageous followers are willing to take a moral stand to prevent ethical abuses, and they refuse to take part in these types of activities. Chaleff describes four styles of followership based on two dimensions: the courage to support the leader and the courage to challenge the leader. A Resource follower displays low support and low challenge. This type of person will do enough to retain the position, but no more. Individualist followers show low support, but high challenge. They will speak up, even when others are reluctant to do so. However, because Individualists are consistently contrarian, their voices are often marginalized. An Implementer follower demonstrates high support and low challenge. Leaders value this type of follower. However, the weakness of Implementers is that they will not caution the leader against costly mistakes. Partner followers show high support and high challenge. They assume complete responsibility for both their own and the leaders behavior. In most organizations, there is a core follower style that is independent of the leaders style.

2. Reduced elements of risk. Corporate survival is dependent on reducing the risks faced by the organization. Courageous followers protect organizations from risk by doing the right thing and safeguarding the company. 3. An antidote to flawed or toxic leadership. Courageous followers are willing to stand up to leaders who are toxic, as well as those who simply have human limitations. The Georgetown University Professional Manager Certificate Program The Georgetown University Professional Manager Certificate Program is open to all university staff and faculty. It includes five required courses and sixty additional hours of development training. One of the required courses is the Courageous Follower. Leaders who encourage courageous followership want their teams to act as partners and to help create the organizational culture. Effective followers look for ways to achieve common goals. This may be done by reframing issues, analyzing conflicts to find lapses in critical thinking, or recommitting to the mission of the organization. Leaders who want to cultivate effective courageous followership should consider the Servant Leader model, which was created by Robert K. Greenleaf. In this model, servant leader managers honor five unspoken employee requests: 1. Hear me and understand me. 2. Even if you disagree with me, please do not make me wrong. 3. Acknowledge the greatness within me. 4. Remember to look for my loving intentions. 5. Tell me the truth with compassion. The NASA Leadership Alchemy Program One of the core beliefs of NASA Goddards Leadership Alchemy Program is that everyone can be a leader if circumstances warrant; being a leader does not require a title or positional power. The program runs nine months, during which time participants
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We equip people with the mind-set and skills to energetically support positive leadership at all levels and to talk back constructively to these same leaders when necessary.
Business success today requires leaders to share power, strategic decision making, and authority. Organizational cultures that practice courageous followership enjoy many benefits. They have a greater chance of sustaining accountability because followers challenge, participate in transformation, and take moral action. This results in a culture that allows critical thinking, deliberation, and judicious action. There are three ways that courageous followers offer value to the organization: 1. Increased employee engagement and effectiveness. Courageous followers care deeply about the organizations direction and success. This shift in perspective results in improved employee retention. In addition, this culture attracts candidates to the organization during recruiting.

Business Book Summaries September 6, 2010 Copyright 2010 EBSCO Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Art of Followership

Ronald E. Riggio, Ira Chaleff and Jean Lipman-Blumen

learn about leadership by practicing it in the context of real issues. Participants engage in action learning, appreciative inquiry, emotional intelligence and relationship building, leadership presence, and reading and reflection. Through a capstone Action Learning Project, participants showcase their new leadership skills. Graduates are willing to challenge the status quo and to create a new behavioral norm. The 4-D Followership Model Rodger Adair has developed the 4-D Followership Model to characterize followers strengths and weaknesses. This model categorizes employees into four groups. In reality, individuals cross these boundaries regularly and share traits among all four categories. However, Adair suggests that most people fall into either the Disciple or Doer category. Disciples. Disciples focus is serving others. It is a natural category for many followers and leaders. Disciples are committed to the organizations mission, are willing to work overtime, and hope to improve the firm through their efforts. They tend to be inclusive, open-minded, and adaptable. They have a strong work ethic and are team players.

would validate negative behavior. Disgruntled employees are noninclusive, closed-minded, and solo players. They engage in combative communication and have a poor work ethic. Leadership, Followership, and College Admissions Even though most leadership and followership discussions focus on the business context, leadership plays an important role in other areas of life. One interesting product of societys preoccupation with leadership is the college admissions process. Colleges actively seek out leaders, yet outstanding learning is a collaborative experience. The degree to which students participate in a workgroup determines the learning experience. One way to increase classroom participation might be to assess students on their in-class contributions. To further promote collaboration, each persons class participation grade could be based on a class survey. This survey would evaluate the real contributions that students made in workgroups outside class. One author suggests that college admissions officers need to put more emphasis on understanding applicants contribution to the classroom learning environment rather than on leadership titles. For this approach to succeed, high schools would need to encourage students to contribute to classroom learning and also find ways to measure this contribution.

Doers. Doers focus on serving their own needs. These individuals are productive and sometimes aggressive. They are committed to the organization and have a Whether we call employees followers or collaborastrong work ethic, but they do tors, researchers can use the 4-D Followership Model to not want to remain in one job for type employees behavioral patterns and determine their too long. Doers are competitive, strengths and weaknesses (as well as potential stressors). partially open-minded, and have a strong work ethic. They engage in selective comThe Pitfalls and Challenges munication and are conditional team players. Disengaged. Disengaged employees react passively to stress. They attempt to justify their behavior by questioning the organizations loyalty to employees. The disengaged tend to be noninclusive, nonresponsive, closed-minded, and inflexible. They engage in guarded communication and have a weak work ethic. Disgruntled. The disgruntled have active reactions to stress. Even though a manager may be tempted to acquiesce to the disgruntled employees vocal, negative behavior, it is not recommended. This

of Followership

One of the major challenges associated with followership is dealing with toxic leaders. Why individuals tolerate toxic leadership is not easily explained. Despite the barriers to denouncing bad leadership, however, there are some people who have the courage to become whistleblowers. Toxic leaders engage in destructive behaviors and have dysfunctional traits that result in serious, poisonous effects on individuals, organizations, and sometimes even entire societies. The intent to harm others or to enhance themselves at the expense of others distinPage 5

Business Book Summaries September 6, 2010 Copyright 2010 EBSCO Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Art of Followership

Ronald E. Riggio, Ira Chaleff and Jean Lipman-Blumen

guishes seriously toxic leaders from unintentionally bad leaders. Unfortunately, the majority of followers do not confront toxic leaders because the cost of escape is too high. People seek meaning and a controlled world from leaders in exchange for obedience. The concept of belonging to a chosen group has a high degree of appeal to human beings. The illusion that an individual is chosen is potent and comforting, but it also comes with serious dangers. When people feel they are chosen, there are four possibilities for imposing that truth on others: absorption, conversion, marginalization, or elimination. Another temptation that leaders can provide is bringing followers to the center of the action. When people feel that they have access to the latest knowledge, their lives take on increased relevance. An obsession with remaining in the center can lead individuals to tolerate or even become toxic leaders.

Based on these findings, there are certain implications for followers who find their organization engaged in immoral or illegal activities. First, it is best to find allies among co-workers who are willing to oppose the directives. It is almost impossible for a person to be the lone dissenter. Second, followers should not comply with requests that they feel even slightly uneasy about. Carrying out actions that are only mildly objectionable is often the beginning of an escalating process of entrapment. Employees should also be alert to word tricks that may be used. For example, if a follower questions a directive and hears it is company policy, it should raise a red flag. Illustrations of Followership Challenges: Bullying and Whistleblowing

Little or no attention has been given to the development of constructive followership skills, which promote the support of positive leadership and the rejection of toxic leadership. This lack of skill development is evident in One of the pitfalls of followership is that ordinary societys continuing problems with bullying. There are people will often follow destructive and harmful three components to bullying: the bully, the target, and orders, even when they do not harbor hatred toward the bystanders. Bystanders to bullying are in essence their victims. This was proven by psychologist Stanley toxic followers. They enable the bully, whether the colMilgrams obedience experiments. In these experilusion is intentional or not. Research shows that the ments, Milgram discovered that a majority of test single most effective tool for stopping a bullying attack subjects were willing to give a series of increasingly that is underway is the intervention of bystanders. It is painful electric shocks to a protesting victim simply difficult for a single person to stand up and go against because they were commanded to by an authority. the group. However, when a whole group of bystanders takes action, no one is singled out In fact, those gifts of an impossible level of security and and all are protected. To enable bystanders, support structures must exist that eternal life that toxic leaders promise usually come at an makes bystander intervention the norm, exorbitant price: our own or others freedom. rather than the exception. Milgrams experiments lead to several conclusions about followership. When people become part of a larger organization, changes occur to their autonomous nature. The first change that makes destructive obedience possible is an individuals acceptance of the leaders version of reality. Another internal change that occurs is a shift in responsibility from the follower to the leader. When this takes place, the followers main concern becomes how well he will do his job, rather than the morality of his actions. Milgram found that much of human behavior is a product of the immediate situation, which can override personalities. Whistleblowers are individuals who have acted as responsible followers, but have fallen victim to being the lone dissenter. Rarely do a whistleblowers actions cause others to stand up and protest as well. Most whistleblowers are marginalized not only in the organization but also in society. According to several studies, between one-half and two-thirds of whistleblowers lose their jobs. The goal of sacrificing the whistleblower is to prevent an outbreak of ethical and moral responsibility that would threaten the entire organization. The real threat posed by the whistleblower is to remind the organization that it belongs to the larger world.
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Business Book Summaries September 6, 2010 Copyright 2010 EBSCO Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Art of Followership

Ronald E. Riggio, Ira Chaleff and Jean Lipman-Blumen

Followers and Leaders


Researchers and practitioners have just started to gain an understanding of the role that followers play in leadership and an understanding of the dynamics of the leader-follower equation. In recent years, companies have moved toward flatter administrative structures and leaner organizations. In this environment, followers are taking on more decision-making responsibility and often need to self-manage their activities. In the final section of The Art of Followership, the authors explore different ways that followers can work more effectively in organizations. The essays examine topics as wide ranging as the social identity theory of leadership, authentic followership, followers and vision creation, and a framework for creativity among followers. Social Identity Theory of Leadership

and group norms are not discussed openly, a cult-like environment may develop where there are few limits on an omnipotent leaders behavior. Authentic Followership When followers feel ownership in an organization, they tend to engage in positive behaviors driven by a sense of responsibility. Followers who come to fully identify with their work see their work as an extension of themselves. Given that leadership is based on a relationship between leaders and followers, trust is a key aspect of the leadership dynamic. Trust is a function of the leaders willingness to be viewed as vulnerable by followers. When leaders make their own mistakes transparently, they build their followers trust in their intentions. Follower trust is reinforced by repeated interaction, identification with the group leader, and perceived interdependence. Research has shown that high levels of trust are associated with high-quality leader and follower relationships. For followers to be confident enough to assume ownership over tasks and situations, leaders need to create higher levels of psychological safety. Without a sense of ownership and transparency, followers may continue to be reluctant to report what they see as wrong.

Traditionally, followership research has focused on follower styles, as well as followership motivations and paths. Another way to approach the role of followers is to examine the fact that leaders and followers are members of the same group. The social identity theory of leadership explores how followers enable and help leaders to forge an identity for the group. This theory gives followers a great Effective followership generally benefits group atmosphere, deal of influence over effective leadership. Followers provide promotes group functioning and development, and permits clear limits for which leadership innovative, ethical, and healthy leadership. behaviors and innovations they will endorse and follow. Effective leadership relies Followers and Vision Creation on the followers perceiving that the leader shares the Many companies are beginning to recognize the attributes of the group. Social identity leadership proimportance of involving followers in vision creation, cesses occur most frequently when members strongly dissemination, and implementation. Since followidentify with the group. Leaders who are not perceived ers are necessary to move an organization toward as sharing the groups attributes struggle to lead. It is a desired future state, followers may be as or more the followers who provide the conditions required for important to creating and realizing a company vision effective leadership. than the leaders. Follower ownership of the vision is In the social identity theory of leadership, effective essential. Followers who receive the vision in a topleadership is maximized when the group members feel down fashion demonstrate more resistance to the secure in their membership and the environment provision and less commitment to it overall. motes open discussion of group norms and the groups A good starting point for involving followers in vision identity. If members do not identify strongly with the creation is to document a proposed vision. The draft group, an environment of warring factions can emerge. vision statement is a starting point for followers to proThis type of atmosphere is vulnerable to exploitation vide comments, offer suggestions for improvement, by powerful autocratic leaders. On the other hand, if and identify potential weaknesses. One recommengroup members identify too strongly with the group
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The Art of Followership

Ronald E. Riggio, Ira Chaleff and Jean Lipman-Blumen

dation is to create a task force of middle and senior managers who will hold focus groups with employees. Groups should include five to seven employees and should be held in an environment where open dialogue is encouraged.

ent stimuli. To grow, Creative Catalysts can focus on activities like honing time and energy awareness and fostering creativity in others through storytelling skills.

Creative Supporters. Creative Supporters are Red Once the vision has been created, different commu1-Ds. These individuals have high energy but are nication channels should be used at varying levels of most comfortable thinking in traditional ways. the organization. Leaders should identify individuals They have incremental new ideas that build who support the vision and ask for their help socializon existing thoughts in small, programmatic ing it. Leaders should also directly communicate the ways. Creative Supporters are valuable to the vision through both formal and informal conversaorganization because they create and maintain tions. It is also important to monitor how the message the inspiration level. They can be more effective is received in different parts of the organization. by communicating their preferred processes to others and showing how those Follower ownership of the vision is an essential element for procedures contribute to the vision success. However, it also requires that leaders relinquish larger goals. To become a Catalyst, Supporters can apply their some of the control that they have over processes and procepositive energy toward nontradures that surround creating and disseminating the vision. ditional thinking. Creativity and Followers Every member of an organization can be an effective follower for organizational creativity and innovation. Authors Kimberly Jaussi, Andy Stefanovich, and Patricia Devlin have created a framework for classifying followers for creativity and innovation. This framework is based on two dimensions: the colors red and blue, and the classifications of 1-D and 3-D. Red and blue are used to define employees enthusiasm, energy, and emotions. Blue people are calm in any setting. Red people, in contrast, display high intensity, high emotions, and high energy. Individuals who are classified as 1-D like to use structured processes to define and solve problems. They like to work independently to identify problems, generate alternatives, and execute plans. They dislike ambiguity. In contrast, 3-D individuals see the objective and everything that surrounds it. This allows objectives to be redefined, re-approached, and resolved. Based on these dimensions, there are four types of individuals: Creative Catalysts. Creative Catalysts are Red 3-Ds. They stimulate others to generate ideas and promote creativity and innovation through exponential growth. To remain an effective Catalyst, an individual should strive to get more and differ Creative Skeptics. Creative Skeptics are Blue 3-Ds. They engage in complex thinking and will contradict the ideas put forth by the group. Skeptics pose contradictions for the right reasons, but they must assure teammates that they have the organizations best interests at heart. To stretch to the Catalyst role, Skeptics must focus on changing their energy from Blue to Red. Other steps they can take are to mentor others and to recraft their personal identity. Creative Static. Creative Statics are Blue 1-Ds. They create energy without any new content. Statics foster creativity by calming the abundance of emotional energy in the organization. They do not mind completing the details of projects once the discovery-based individuals have created the great idea. Statics must recognize their value to the organization and ensure that they leverage that value on a daily basis. If Skeptics want to expand their role, they can move toward Supporters or Skeptics or a mix of both. One way to accomplish this is for Statics to access their passions and transfer them to work.

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The Art of Followership

Ronald E. Riggio, Ira Chaleff and Jean Lipman-Blumen

Features of the Book


Reading Time: 11 hours, 386 pages The Art of Followership provides a broad range of views about followership in todays business world. It is comprised of a series of essays. Some are written in a style similar to articles in a business magazine, while others are written in a very academic style. The book is relevant to managers at any level, as well as individual contributors who have an interest in learning more about followership. Since each essay is a standalone piece of work, it is not necessary to read The Art of Followership from cover-to-cover. At the end of the book, there is a bibliography for each chapter, as well as a comprehensive index.

7. Getting Together Part Three: The Pitfalls and Challenges of Followership Following Toxic Leaders: In Search of Posthumous Praise What Can Milgrams Obedience Experiments Contribute to Our Understanding of Followership? What Kind of Leader Do People Want to Follow? Bystanders to Childrens Bullying: The Importance of Leadership by Innocent Bystanders Whistleblowing as Responsible Followership Part Four: Followers and Leaders: Research, Practice, and the Future Followers Cognitive and Affective Structures and Leadership Processes Social Identity Processes and the Empowerment of Followers Lead, Follow, and Get Out of the Way: Involving Employees in the Visioning Process Effective Followership for Creativity and Innovation: A Range of Colors and Dimensions Conformist, Resistant, and Disguised Selves: A PostStructuralist Approach to Identity and Workplace Followership The Rise of Authentic Followership Notes Index

Contents
Foreword Acknowledgments About the Contributors Introduction Part One: Defining and Redefining Followership 1. Rethinking Followership 2. Leadership: A Partnership in Reciprocal Following 3. Three Perspectives on Followership 4. A New Leadership-Followership Paradigm 5. Followership: An Outmoded Concept Part Two: Effective Followership 1. Creating New Ways of Following 2. Rethinking Leadership and Followership: A Students Perspective 3. The Heros Journey to Effective Followership and Leadership: A Practitioners Focus 4. Courageous Followers, Servant-Leaders, and Organizational Transformations 5. Followership in a Professional Services Firm 6. Developing Great Leaders, One Follower at a Time

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The Art of Followership

Ronald E. Riggio, Ira Chaleff and Jean Lipman-Blumen

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