ADOPTION OF FOLLOWERSHIP AS A MANAGEMENT STYLE
Hersey, Blanchard and Johnson (1996) write a great deal about the concept of "followership" in which the terms "leader" and "follower" are not diametrically opposed concepts, but both exist as points along a continuum, and that the roles shift as the situation develops. In a way, this confirms the old Confucian analect that "As a teacher, by your students you are taught." Some management schools, discussing the concept of situational leadership make use of an organizational model called "path-goal."
The path-goal theory of management suggests that it is the manager's primary task to both lead and guide, helping the workers achieve goals through the clear establishment of what is expected of them.
As explained by Stewart, "The directive leader lets subordinates know what is expected of them...the supportive leader is friendly and shows concern for the needs...the participative leader consults with subordinates...the achievement oriented leader sets challenging goals" (Stewart, 1993, 112).
Applying the theories proposed by Stewart that there is a difference between a successful manager and an effective manager adds a new dimension to this path-goal theory. "Through the years, management has been described...[as] planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and controlling" (Stewart, 1993, 23). Stewart also suggests that this has created a schism between "effective" managers (those that get the job done) and "successful" managers (those who get promoted quickly).
This leads to the question of whether a leader who chooses to adopt a "following" philosophy might be considered as weak. Hersey and colleagues almost address this point on page 341.
When you first encounter a prospective follower, before you say your first word you have already made a statement about yourself. Part of this statement involves body language in terms of how confidently you carry yours...