Why followership? Here is a second answer…

I worked in a large unit in an Australian university. I reported to the Director and for various reasons the person who filled that role changed often. I reported to six people who were appointed to, or acted in, the Director role over a period of four years.

While the Director’s office door was revolving, the unit’s work went on. Sometimes we worked in collaboration with the Director (and sometimes we worked in collaboration to engage with the Director as little as possible). It was often difficult for the managers within the unit and for the team members they led.

But the work got done, plans were made and implemented, targets were met, stakeholders were communicated with. Could the unit’s work have been done better, more productively, and with less angst if there had been consistent, high quality leadership and support? Yes of course. However, this lack didn’t prevent good work and good outcomes.

There has to be more to organisational success than good leadership. I think we over emphasise the importance of the manager or the leader. We don’t pay enough attention to what the followers do in order to get good work done.

That’s why I find followership fascinating and why I’m researching what impact effective followership has on organisations and sharing the importance of followership in professional development workshops.