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What makes an effective follower?

This article looks at the characteristics which help make an effective follower.

In the previous step, you were introduced to Kelley’s typology of followers’ styles that includes effective or exemplary, conformist, passive, alienated and pragmatist followers.

In this step you are introduced to the qualities and characteristics of effective followers as this style is perceived both by leaders and followers as a superior style.

According to Kelley effective followers display the following characteristics:

  • They manage themselves well. Effective followers have the ability to think for themselves, to exercise self-control and work independently without close supervision.
  • They are committed to the organisation and to a purpose, principle, or person outside themselves. Effective followers are self-confident and see colleagues as allies and leaders as equals.
  • They build their competence and focus their efforts for maximum impact. Effective followers master skills that are useful to their organisations. They generally hold higher performance standards than their work requires, and look to expand their knowledge as part of their professional development.
  • They are courageous, honest, and credible. Effective followers can keep a leader honest and out of trouble.
  • Effective followers are actively involved in their organisations. They can openly disagree with the leader in a constructive way and they are not intimidated by reporting relationships. They show commitment, but temper their loyalty to better serve the needs of the organisation.

Finally, effective followers bring the knowledge and skills that the organisation needs to succeed.

Reflect & Reply

Please reflect upon the key question below and respond using the comments section below.

  • Do you agree that the four qualities suggested by Kelley make effective followers?
  • Are there other qualities that you can suggest based on your experience?

This article is from the free online

How to Harness Followership for Leadership Success

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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