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Collective leadership
Collective leadership

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2.1 Working collaboratively

You will now hear from a highly experienced leader who is a Chief Constable in the police force in England. His name is Chief Constable Giles York and he believes that, to ensure your organisation has an opportunity to work effectively, understanding and working collaboratively can help make a difference.

While you listen to Chief Constable York, think about yourself as a follower; without followers, there would not be leaders. Make some notes on the topics he discusses and then complete the activity that follows.

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Video 2 Chief Constable Giles York
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Activity 3 What type of follower are you?

Timing: Allow about 60 minutes
  1. Having listened to the perspective of leader/follower relationships from Chief Constable York, now read In Praise of Followers [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] by Lawrence Suda.
  2. Spend about 10 minutes thinking about what type of follower you are.
  3. Whether it is while you are studying, working or part of a club, how do you view yourself as a colleague or team player?
  4. What skills, qualities and traits do you bring to the ‘collective’?


If you look back at the list of qualities that people expect from leaders, many of the skills, traits and competencies are the same qualities needed in effective followers. Both entities need to demonstrate initiative, independence, commitment to common goals, and courage. A follower can provide enthusiastic support of a leader, especially one where there is trust and respect. However, a follower should not fail to challenge a leader who is unethical or threatens the values or objectives of the organisation.

It could be argued that ineffective followers are as much to blame for poor performance or ethical and legal lapses within organisations as poor and unethical leaders are. Therefore, as a follower, individuals have a responsibility to speak up when leaders do things wrong.