Discussion Questions and Exercises

  1. What has led to the recent interest in followership research?
  2. What are a follower’s ethical responsibilities? How can a follower hold a leader accountable for organizational ethics?
  3. How do you explain that leadership and followership are co-created in a given situation by the individuals involved?
  4. What insights are gained by conceptualizing followership according to psychological concepts like Zaleznik’s?
  5. Using Kelley’s follower Typology, how can a leader motivate alienated, passive, pragmatic, or conformist followers to becoming exemplary followers?
  6. Chaleff states that “followers need to take a more proactive role that brings it into parity with the leader’s role.” What if the leader resists such a role transformation? What if the organization doesn’t support such an influential role for followers?
  7. Using Kellerman’s Follower Typology, what motivates a follower to be engaged? Is it loyalty to a leader, to one’s coworkers, to the organization, to the organization’s mission, or something else? How might that underlying motivation affect the level of engagement?
  8. What personal examples can you think of where followers have affected leaders and organizational outcomes?
  9. Compare the “reversing the lens” approach and the “leadership as co-created process” approach. Which concept of followership seems most useful to you? Why?
  10. Under “New Perspectives on Followership” one positive facet of being a follower is that followers “get the job done.” Followers carry out the mission of the group and the organization; they do the work. What, then, is the leader’s role in this process?
  11. What are some life lessons, job skills, or other competencies you have learned from a leader?
  12. Why do some followers become “henchmen” for toxic leaders?
  13. How can a person tell if he or she is psychologically susceptible to following a toxic leader?
  14. Are there generational differences in the types of authority figures that appeal to people today?
  15. What power resources do people in society have to challenge bad leaders?