Out of the readings for Week 3 only the one by Kelly seemed to stimulate the reflective process. As it got me thinking about my previous experiences in teams and whether I am a leader or a follower. Personally, I believe some are more naturally equipped to be leaders in the traditional sense, however I also believe you are not just a leader or a follower. I have always considered myself to be a lone wolf, neither a leader nor a follower in which I would adjust appropriately upon finding myself in situations where one or both are necessary. Never being a ‘leader’ in my own opinion I must be a follower by default. Kelley (1988) suggested that there are five different followership patterns stating that there are people ranging from passive followers to effective followers. Effective followers being people who do not require strong leadership, being able to manage themselves which got me thinking, does that mean a team consisting of effective followers can be just as successful as the same group of followers with an adequate leader? Would the leader feel somewhat useless or underutilised in that role where their strong leadership qualities aren’t being capitalised on?
I think that I am a committed honest person capable of managing themselves well, however I do not believe that makes me an effective follower. Looking back at all the teams I have been a part of, I do not think I am necessarily a follower, even though sometimes I display all the characteristics of a follower. I never told people what to do, nor was I the one to make inspirational speeches to ‘rally the troops’, in the many football teams I played football for I didn’t put my hand up to take the captain’s armband. But I did lead in my opinion, I showed up and did my job. I was committed to the team and gave my all. I was able to competently fulfil any role I was given. I believe that I lead from example by being an effective follower and I think that being able to transition between the roles comfortably, whenever it is required, is necessary in my idea of a team.
Kelley, R. E. (1988). In Praise of Followers. Harvard Business Review, 66(6), 142-148.