Followership: An Important Partner of Leadership: A Path to Effective Followership continue

Followership: An Important Partner of Leadership: A Path to Effective FollowershipApart from an organizational level, Hertig (2010) provided several suggestions for practitioners to follow in order to become an effective follower. First, redefine followership and leadership. Second, maximize one’s strengths and improve one’s weaknesses. Third, engage in continuous performance evaluations and provide honest feedback. Fourth, seek opportunities. Fifth, find a mentor. Sixth, always ask why. And finally always present solutions to problems (p. 1431). Moreover, Whitlock (2013) held a positive view for applying good followership and stated that potential effects of good followership “could make a significant contribution towards establishing high performing, safety-conscious organizational teams with the will and conditions for continuous quality improvement” (p. 23).
After a survey of related literature, it is proposed that there are three key elements to being an effective follower in organizational environments. The first is work-related knowledge, especially creative and critical thinking skills. The major role of a follower is to assist a leader to make informed decisions. Thus, in the process of decision-making, creative thinking is needed to confront unambiguous and uncertain situations. In an organizational environment, ill-defined problems and urgent situations are quite common. In order to generate possible solutions to tackle the issues, followers need to use their creativity to come up with alternatives. After possible solutions emerge, followers also need to evaluate them and make judicious decisions. Here, critical thinking becomes a necessary skill to make a judgment. It is believed that followers equipped with both creative and critical thinking skills will make a significant contribution to the organization.
The second key element is good communication skills. Even though followers have great ideas and vision, they still need to present to leaders to sell their ideas. Therefore, good communication between followers and leaders is necessary to reach the shared goal. And the key to having good communication skills is to be honest and have a positive attitude. Followers need to show their concerns and interests for the common good.
The third key element to effective followership is motivation.