The articles in this special issue bear lucid testimony to the fact that leadership has endured as the burning issue for all kinds of organizations—and for executives themselves as they grapple to define their personal successes or lack thereof in business. But to be adequately understood, leadership must be seen for what it is: part […]. But to be adequately understood, leadership must be seen for what it is: part of a duality or a relationship. There can be no leaders without followers. It tells us that people seek, admire, and respect—that is, they follow—leaders who produce within them three emotional responses.
Leadership is a process that emerges from a relationship between leaders and followers. People will be more effective leaders when their behaviors indicate that they are one of us, that they share our values, concerns and experiences, and are working for us. Perhaps aspiring leaders would be better served by ensuring that they are seen to be a good follower. A longitudinal study of Royal Marines recruits completing an arduous 32 week training course suggests that may be the case: the Marines who saw themselves as followers, and were simply focused on getting the work done, were more likely to be recognized as leaders by both peers and commanders.
However, in this egalitarian twenty-first century little mention has been made of followership due to its negative stereotype. Specific practical implications for followership development are discussed as well as barriers to create high levels of follower commitment. A brief case study of active followership is presented for training purposes.
The sometimes very restrictive and challenging assignment criteria helped me to step out of my comfort zone and learn, that yes indeed, I can write a believable and engaging story snippet, even if I do not at all identify with the framework I am required to follow.