Follower Styles Module
Submitted by Collegiate Leadership Competition
September 3, 2019
Ethics & Social Justice, Human Resources & Organizational Behavior, Strategy & General Management
leadership, Challenges, group activity, FOLLOW, in-class excercise
Area of Study:
This module includes: 1.) curriculum related to follower styles including the FOLLOW acronym, teaching notes, reflection questions, and more; 2.) two classroom exercises to help students practice the various styles and apply their learning. Similar to leadership STYLES, followers can default into certain styles as well. There is an appropriate time to engage in each of the styles listed below and – as always – the key is intentionality and not defaulting to one style in all situations. Fully engaged followers are partners in the process who view themselves as invested, committed, and excited about the work. A follower using an opposed and open style is more of an individualist who openly disagrees with the direction of the leader or team. A third style is lazy or disengaged and this individual will activate when tapped, but will often lack a proactive approach to the role of follower. No one really knows where the allegiances of the lone wolf lie – they are active and engaged, but seem to have their own priorities and agenda. An opposed and underground follower style will often undermine the long-term success of the group. Hallmarks of this style are side conversations, meetings after the meetings, and gossip – often without certain people in the room. A follower with a whatever you say (e.g., yes man or woman) approach will align with the wishes of the leader/authority figure and rarely challenge or let their own feelings be known. Again, it’s important to reinforce that each style has a time and a place. Likewise, each style has benefits and drawbacks that will be important for you to explore. Collegiate Leadership Competition is a nonprofit organization focused on researching leadership development and using that knowledge to create resources that will help move the field of leadership education forward. CLC’s underlying theory is that leadership skills are primarily strengthened through deliberate practice.