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Leadership and followership
Leadership and followership

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2.1 Benefits for the organisation

A more engaged and committed workforce is obviously beneficial for the organisation in numerous ways. The work of leaders and managers can become easier and more rewarding, and a range of business enhancements can result.

More effective leadership

A leader with a team that is disengaged and lacking motivation, can find it difficult to complete projects, to innovate, to introduce change etc. Engaged and enthusiastic followers can make a huge difference to achieving goals and moving forward.

Activity 3 What’s in it for the leader?

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Consider how a strong, engaged, enthusiastic team can benefit their leader, and list your ideas in the box below.

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Benefits include:

  • When your followers are strong, your leadership is more effective.
  • If your followers use their own initiative and look for responsibility, this will free up your time to focus more strategically.
  • Engaged and enthusiastic team members are inspiring and stimulating to work with and this will make your own role more enjoyable and fulfilling.
  • If you have followers who are willing to challenge you, this could save you from making some of the common leadership mistakes outlined in Week 4.

A leader must think strategically about the types of followers their organisation needs. For example, you might not always need your followers to be ‘effective’ or ‘proactive’. As Chaleff (2009) explains, an ‘implementer’ might seem to be the perfect follower, but if a leader starts to make mistakes, the ‘implementer’ is unlikely to challenge them. You might also be working within a context that benefits from passive followers who are happy to abide by the rules, for example, a manufacturing production line.

Employee engagement

Employee engagement is an increasingly popular management concept, focusing on the mutual benefits of a strong relationship between employer and employee.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) lists the benefits of employee engagement as follows:

  • Happier, healthier and more fulfilled employees
  • Better staff retention
  • Improved business performance e.g. increased customer satisfaction levels; productivity; innovation; efficiency
  • Increased profit
  • Stronger brand and reputation.

You’ll consider how to build good followership and an engaged workforce later this week.

In this section, you’ve seen that the benefits of good followership are numerous – impacting on the follower, the leader and the organisation. However, some organisations are starting to question whether the traditional leader–follower relationship is the most effective approach. You’ll explore this idea in more detail in Section 5.