Friday, September 30, 2011

Leadership and Followership

Pharaoh, the king of ancient Egypt, is often d...Image via Wikipedia

Though having diverse definitions, followership and leadership are two inseparable concepts of which the absence of one makes doing the job impossible. Followership may be defined as the art of following, listening, taking orders, emulating and identifying with a top figure who is there to inspire, motivate, and reward for successes. Followers are responsible for the success of any organization and that they follow guidelines set out by the leader and contained in guidelines and policies in the form of rules and regulations that may either be in publication form or through oral dictate.

On the other hand, leadership entails “the exercise of power” (Burke, 2011) and having the attributes of intellectual dimension, powerful ideas, an understanding of creativity and the meaning of life (Morris, 1997). With empathy and intense feeling for the follower, a leader stays in the forefront of overcoming turbulent conditions by changing gears. Leaders rely on others to take care of their meeting schedules, answer phones, and entertain their visitors in their absences (Blunt, 2008).

In the past I have been involved in many capacities as a leader, manager, or follower. Of all the jobs, in my experience, the leaders I found most incompetent were those lacking self-esteem and guarded by stalwartly men who walked insolently breathing threats without giving due respect to their followers. Informal leadership is leadership accorded to a person by other members of the organization. I identify myself with informal leadership. A leader, though not infallible, possesses characteristics not found in the manager and follower. However, whether the owner of an organization or a mere CEO, a leader is one who abides by the rules and regulations of the organization that he/she leads.

Pharaohs of Egypt wore fake goatees which implied that they were leaders in their own right just as the “He-goat”, “Billy-goat”, or “Male-goat” led the rest of the goat at all times regardless of whether the flock grazed, drove to pasture, or returned from a long day in the fields. The goatees worn by ancient pharaohs were made from goat skin. A look at the hieroglyphics on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs is a testament to pharaonic living styles and their lively exposures as leaders. Consequently, today’s leaders are no different from those of the past despite difference in lifestyle and paraphernalia. Pharaohs of Egypt sipped wine from golden cups while modern CEOs dine on elegant tables surrounded by retinue of followers.

Burke, W. W. (2011). Organization Change: Theory and Practice. SAGE Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA.

Morris, T. (1997). If Aristotle Ran General Motors: The New Soul of Business. Henry Holt & Company, LLC, New York.

Blunt, R. (2008). The successes of leaders. Retrieved from http://govleaders.org/successes_print.htm
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