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Published on September 29, 2021 14 min
Other Talks in the Series: Key Concepts: Leadership
Hello everybody. This is Gordy Curphy from Curphy Leadership Solutions, and today's topic is "Followership".
Now how many books have been written about leadership? In reality, well over 10,000 books have been published about this particular topic. Lots of attention to be given to leadership. What about followership? How many books have been written about that particular topic? Well, as you might imagine, a lot fewer books have been written about followership. Probably less than 20 had been written about followership. Which is pretty interesting because as Bob Dylan said in his song back in the 1980, 'serve somebody, is that everybody plays a follower role'. Everybody serve somebody. Doesn't matter if you're the CEO, you served the board of directors. If you're the prime minister of a country, you serve citizens. If you're a mid-level manager, you serve your boss. Everybody wears a followership hat at one time or another. Everybody reports to somebody else. Even those people who are in formal leadership roles, who are in positions of authority can spend a significant amount of time in a followership role. What kind of follower are you? What are the different types of followers? Let's explore this a little bit further.
When I think about this concept, I think about two different dimensions of followership. We have a vertical dimension, which is I called the critical thinking dimension. We have some people who like to think for themselves. They're curious and they like to solve problems. That's at the top of the diagram. At the bottom of the diagram we have also people who don't like to think for themselves. They're not particularly curious. They don't like to solve problems. If they see a problem, they'd rather tell management about that and let them figure it out. Then we've got a horizontal dimension, which is the engagement dimension. You've got some people to the far right who are very switched on engaged. They come into work early, they leave late and they stay very productive while at work. Then you have other people who are pretty disengaged at work. They may show up late. They may not show up at all. And frankly, they'd rather be doing something else. The engagement and critical thinking dimensions are the two critical dimensions of followership.