Leaders can implement followership by adopting transformative leadership techniques to survive in the changing environment. The increasing complexities and dynamism in the business and social world calls for leadership that plays a role in the success of an organization. In fact, the dynamic environmental problems require organizational transformation to remain competitive. Similarly, in the political sector, military, and religious sector transformational leadership is essential. However, for change to occur, there has to be a visionary leadership that shape and direct followership in an organization. The paper will discuss how leaders can encourage followership to bring change in an organization. Typically, a leader can promote followership through inspiration, continuous learning, as exemplified the “A Long Year in 1st Brigade” case study.
First, leaders can involve followers through inspiration in the transformation processes of the organization. For example, LTC Allen remarked that “if the boss is positive and upbeat, then everyone will follow his lead. He might drive the climate, but we help shape it”. Allen’s remarks are an indication of the critical role leaders have in inspiring change through their actions. Given that transformation involves paradigm shifts in the business, the business processes leaders should always not only set goals to be accomplished but also influence attitude and behaviors necessary to achieve those organizational targets and objectives. The involvement includes seeking an opinion of the followers, giving every member an opportunity to lead a particular role, and support the subordinates’ effort.
Second, leaders can implement followership through continuous learning. Since the business environment is firstly changing, everyone in an organization has to on continuum basis improve their skills and knowledge to remain relevant and productive. A good leader let the followers learn from the excellent leadership skills showed, and create an enabling environment for learning. Typically, when junior staff members get the opportunity to acquire new ways of doing things, and skills of managing they become loyal to follow the instructions from the leaders. For example, in the case study, soldiers embrace improvement and operation by encouraging innovation. As LTC Allen puts it, “to be successful, we must always look for new ideas and better methods for doing our job.” Therefore, to achieve an active followership, a leader has to train the followers’ good ways of becoming good leaders. When this is done, the junior member of the organization will fell encouraged to do more to the organization and hence achieve the goals. For example, LTC Allen believes leaders support their subordinates, “…we never fail our subordinates’ commanders, and we never fail our soldiers.” The philosophy explains the role of leadership in shaping followership by creating a collaborative environment where everyone participates I the achievement of the objectives.
Third, leaders should use communication through innovation to encourage followership. When leaders actively use communication to take part in the day to day operation activities of the organization, the manager will not only set the pace for the action but also encourage the followers to put more effort in achieving the set objectives. Ideally, the members tend to know much about the operation of the business because they are the point of interaction with other players in the organization. If the leader wants to learn more about the firm, the leader has to follow the junior staff’s recommendations.
Nonetheless, followership also comes with responsibilities from the leaders. First, the leader has to communicate clearly goals and objective of the firm to the junior management staff who implement the operation. With proper communication, the roadmap of the business will be laid, and everyone will be brought on board and participate actively. For example, in the brigade case, the staff officers have to support the brigade soldiers if they are to climb the ladder of leadership.
In conclusion, with proper communication, leaders can inspire the team to focus their effort and attention on achieving the set goals. Besides, the leaders can use the continuous learning to the subordinate to allow them to acquire the right skills for leadership, improvement, and innovation. But the followers should also support each other, ready to learn and respect for authority. It is when everyone gets involved in the operations of the firm when leadership can initiate transformation in an organization.
- CHALEFF, IRA. “Courageous Followers, Courageous Leaders NEW RELATIONSHIPS FOR LEARNING AND PERFORMANCE – Ideas for Leaders”. Executive Associates (2001). Accessed December 27, 2016. http://www.exe-coach.com/courageous-followers-courageous-leaders.htm.
- Kelley, Robert. “Rethinking Followership” How Great Followers Create Great Leaders And Organizations. 1st ed., 2008.