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It has been long known that having a good effective leader in a group or team situation has a positive effect on their overall performance. However what is often overlooked is the importance and ability of those that are following the leader. These are often people who have been delegated roles that together hold huge importance to the effectiveness and achievement of the team. In one of the readings this week 'In Praise of Followers' it helps explain the power that a self managed workforce has and the importance of capturing this in a group environment (Kelley, 1988). It also outlines what it means to be to be a truly effective follower comparing this to what a truly ineffective follower is like. Key points that are found in effective followers in this reading include enthusiasm, intelligence and self reliant participation which is pointed toward the overall organisational goal (Kelley, 1988). These are of huge importance toward the successfulness of the team as without these the team will not be able to reach its full potential. Examples of bad followers are often know as sheep, whereby they do little thinking on their own serving to the needs of what they are told to do and nothing more. This may not be detrimental to the group but certainly doesn't add anything to the group's overall efforts. However it is also seen to be possible to change these inefficient workers into efficient ones as long as employers or leaders give the others the capacity to become good followers. This is done through four major parts, the first of which is redefining what a leader and a follower are. By giving both leaders and followers a sense of equal value but just do different activities this gives the opportunity for followers to become ambitious and push themselves in their group work. This is also achieved through the second part of creating good followers which is honouring followership skills. This would involve the training or teaching followers how they can become effective in their role. Evaluation and feedback is the third point in the creation of good followers as this help them know what they are doing right/wrong and how they can improve in their roles. This is a significant step and increases team members abilities and contribution toward the overall goal. The last point to creating successful group followers is a organisational structure that allows or even encourages those followers skills to come to fruition (Kelley, 1988). 

 

Kelley, R. E. (1988, November). In Praise of Followers. The Harvard Business Review, pp. 142-148.

 

2 Comments

  1. Your journal was good that it covered the major points outlined in the Kelley reading and you understood these well, however I feel that you missed out noting how organisational structures can influence the type of followers required, for example some organisations which are highly bureaucratic in nature and have regimented pathways in say, customer service where the organisation and customer benefit from employees who can follow the guide lines such as in insurance customer service phone operator or other similar job roles, in short the style of employee follower is dictated by not just the type of leader but also organisational structure, while in flat organisations where critical thinking and an aligned employee interest is beneficial to a highly individualised product or service, organisations which are highly bureaucratic and hierarchical in nature can benefit from employees following very detailed work processes and scripted questions to their customers which can benefit the organisation, despite how mind numbing it can be. Otherwise a great journal..

  2. Your journal shows that you have a really good understanding of this week's reading. However I think it would have been stronger if you had linked what you learnt in the readings to your team or an experience you had with Mikes Bikes. For example, how different kinds of followers would benefit or disadvantage teamwork with regards to the Mikes Bikes scenario. This would help put the readings into context and show a more reflective journal.