2005-07-08

Followership

Prof Raju mentioned that he had asked his friend and our Strategy tutor Prof. Harbir Singh on why the Strategy discipline always focuses on Leadership and not followership. Brilliant. All I needed to think further was the idea.

Given a situation, there is only one leader, there are many followers. Why cannot we prepare people to be good followers? Following is not about imitating or blindly going behind some one. A follower can have his own set of rules. He can position himself in such a fashion such that people around can relate to him.

This happens in business. Some companies consciously decide to build their strategy, positioning and advertising around the concept that they are number two*, not number one.

Also, a leader is nothing without proper follwership. Followers, thus, are as much a part of the success or revolution that a leader may bring. Hanuman was a great follower; but he created a niche for himself and is treated as a great Hero/god. PV Narasimha Rao was the leader who had the guts to initiate tough economic reforms when Indian was in doldrums in 1991; but his follower, Dr. Manmohan Singh, being the executioner, is remembered as the architect of the economic regeneration. He thus created an image for himself.

Followership is not about losing; it is about finding one’s own unique reasons to perform and contribute; it is about finding one’s own niche to operate from.

PS:

1. Today, Prof Raju was at his best. We had a case analysis. The perspectives and analyses he used to unravel the complexities in the case were just too brilliant. Nirvana!

2. When I first wrote about Prof Raju, I wrote about his ability to kindle interest and enthusiasm amongst students to think further. I think he is doing this job quite brilliantly.

* Read “Positioning” by Al Ries and Jack Trout for further gyan on this number two business.

9 comments:

Dinesh said...

You know what, I feel like half-MBA merely by reading your posts.

Simply brilliant! Keep writing..

Anuj said...

Really thought provoking

sundeep said...

however, one need not teach someone to be a follower... usually becoming a follower is there by default... thats the herd instinct... don't think... just act and implement... like a true follower... the moment one starts to think and act..they are tending to become a leader...

Also, occupying the leaderhip POSITION is not necessary... Everyone can define their own domain and be a leader: it could be an entire nation, state, city, neighbourhood, family or just self... yes one LEAD self to self-discovery, to think and shun the laziness and act !

sundeep said...

pardon for the last sentence... missed the word "can" before LEAD self

itheabsolute said...

dinesh

thanks. such comments give me the energy to think and blog.

cheers

itheabsolute said...

anuj

thanks. sometimes just dont have energy to blog, but learning is best done when it is shared. i will serve my purpose when i can pass on what i have learnt

cheers

itheabsolute said...

sundeep

while i agree with u, the reference is not to the mass of followers. some people just happy being there. they derive vicarious happiness. hero thrashes villian - they are happy. hero dances with heroin - they think they have danced.

i was referring to the types who realise that they cannot be leaders but consciously develop a means to occupy number two/three positions and maintain them.

cheers

Beyond Doctorate said...

Good Entry! Keep up the effort. I have my own views on this issue being in leadership position as an Air Force pilot for last 17 yrs but a good follower with purely follower like traits will get left behind unless he picks up good leadership traits through mentor-mentee relationship. The onous also lies on the org to give him support in personal growth.

itheabsolute said...

Hi Beyond doctorate

thanks.agree that without an effort from the follower, there is little hope of his ever remaining there too. he would become one among crowd. sure, there is a lot that a follower can learn from his leader and in his own way become one.

cheers

2005-07-08

Followership

Prof Raju mentioned that he had asked his friend and our Strategy tutor Prof. Harbir Singh on why the Strategy discipline always focuses on Leadership and not followership. Brilliant. All I needed to think further was the idea.

Given a situation, there is only one leader, there are many followers. Why cannot we prepare people to be good followers? Following is not about imitating or blindly going behind some one. A follower can have his own set of rules. He can position himself in such a fashion such that people around can relate to him.

This happens in business. Some companies consciously decide to build their strategy, positioning and advertising around the concept that they are number two*, not number one.

Also, a leader is nothing without proper follwership. Followers, thus, are as much a part of the success or revolution that a leader may bring. Hanuman was a great follower; but he created a niche for himself and is treated as a great Hero/god. PV Narasimha Rao was the leader who had the guts to initiate tough economic reforms when Indian was in doldrums in 1991; but his follower, Dr. Manmohan Singh, being the executioner, is remembered as the architect of the economic regeneration. He thus created an image for himself.

Followership is not about losing; it is about finding one’s own unique reasons to perform and contribute; it is about finding one’s own niche to operate from.

PS:

1. Today, Prof Raju was at his best. We had a case analysis. The perspectives and analyses he used to unravel the complexities in the case were just too brilliant. Nirvana!

2. When I first wrote about Prof Raju, I wrote about his ability to kindle interest and enthusiasm amongst students to think further. I think he is doing this job quite brilliantly.

* Read “Positioning” by Al Ries and Jack Trout for further gyan on this number two business.

9 comments:

Dinesh said...

You know what, I feel like half-MBA merely by reading your posts.

Simply brilliant! Keep writing..

Anuj said...

Really thought provoking

sundeep said...

however, one need not teach someone to be a follower... usually becoming a follower is there by default... thats the herd instinct... don't think... just act and implement... like a true follower... the moment one starts to think and act..they are tending to become a leader...

Also, occupying the leaderhip POSITION is not necessary... Everyone can define their own domain and be a leader: it could be an entire nation, state, city, neighbourhood, family or just self... yes one LEAD self to self-discovery, to think and shun the laziness and act !

sundeep said...

pardon for the last sentence... missed the word "can" before LEAD self

itheabsolute said...

dinesh

thanks. such comments give me the energy to think and blog.

cheers

itheabsolute said...

anuj

thanks. sometimes just dont have energy to blog, but learning is best done when it is shared. i will serve my purpose when i can pass on what i have learnt

cheers

itheabsolute said...

sundeep

while i agree with u, the reference is not to the mass of followers. some people just happy being there. they derive vicarious happiness. hero thrashes villian - they are happy. hero dances with heroin - they think they have danced.

i was referring to the types who realise that they cannot be leaders but consciously develop a means to occupy number two/three positions and maintain them.

cheers

Beyond Doctorate said...

Good Entry! Keep up the effort. I have my own views on this issue being in leadership position as an Air Force pilot for last 17 yrs but a good follower with purely follower like traits will get left behind unless he picks up good leadership traits through mentor-mentee relationship. The onous also lies on the org to give him support in personal growth.

itheabsolute said...

Hi Beyond doctorate

thanks.agree that without an effort from the follower, there is little hope of his ever remaining there too. he would become one among crowd. sure, there is a lot that a follower can learn from his leader and in his own way become one.

cheers