The notion of followership
Your boss (Mrs T Brown) is about to attend a Leadership Course. As you work for her, she has asked you to provide a Briefing Note for her about the notion of “followership” with a maximum of 300 words.
She would also like you to provide some personal examples of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in practice. Please provide her with some situations and scenarios you have experienced and to which you are now able to apply Maslow’s model. You should use a maximum of 250 words to explain your views. This should start on a new page.
The Briefing Note should draw on academic literature where appropriate and be referenced accordingly. It should be appropriately targeted to the audience, clear and succinct. You may wish to use headings or images to convey your message but please ensure you use the available space wisely to ensure you have sufficient detail.
You may find the following resources useful but please remember they are not perfect examples and you will need to use your judgement to consider how best to communicate your message to the target audience. You should also refer to the feedback you were given for your Module 4 brief to ensure you are addressing any ‘Key Areas in Need of Improvement’ that were raised by the marker.
The notion of followership
According to Uhl-Bien, Riggio, Lowe, & Carsten, (2014), followership is the reciprocal social process of leadership. It refers to the role that is held by individuals in an organization; group or team in actively following a leader. Leadership is depended not only on the leadership skills of the leader but also his ability to inspire effective followership. To do so, leaders must inspire trust, compassion, reliability and vision. Leaders inspire trust on their followers when they are able to keep their words and promises, are transparent and honest in their dealings. By remaining stable and dependable even under stress, leaders are able to inspire strong followership, which is depicted by punctuality, duty, diligence, loyalty and improved performance. Genuine concern for others and deliberate efforts to show sympathy and loyalty are qualities that enhance effective followership (Sy, 2010). Finally, when leaders are committed to the vision of the institution, group or team, they are likely to attract great followers. The question that needs to be answered is what motivates followers?
According to Whiteley, Sy, & Johnson, (2012), one of the theories that explain follower motivation is the Maslow’s (1943) hierarchy of needs. Often referred to as the needs theory, it summarizes human needs into five categories: psychological, security, social, esteem and self-actualization in that order. This theory is based on the premise that one need has to be met first before the individual is motivated to shift to the next. I subscribe to the Maslow’s theory of needs; creating an environment of ‘psychological’ ‘safety’ for my sales team has been an important aspect of my managerial career. Often, I recruit smart and ambitious people and allow them to have a say in how the department is run, generating ideas and making mistakes. While the goals and targets are high, I commit myself to support and coach them; in essence, I make everyone feel needed and important to the organization. Recently, a sales agent called me to say thank you, revealing that he has had a great quarter, hitting off his targets. When I protested that I was not responsible for the good results, pointing to his great efforts, he mentioned that I created a great environment for selling, and they acknowledged my support and the fact that I had their back. This was by far the best compliment I had ever received from my team, which was evidence of the importance of good followership.
Uhl-Bien, M., Riggio, R., Lowe, K., & Carsten, M. (2014). Followership theory: A review and research agenda. The Leadership Quarterly, (25), 83-104. W
Sy, T. (2010). What do you think of followers? Examining the content, structure, and consequences of implicit followership theories. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 113, 73-84.
Whiteley, P., Sy, T., & Johnson, S. (2012). Leaders’ conceptions of followers: Implications for naturally occurring Pygmalion effects. The Leadership Quarterly, (23), 822-834.