Perception of Leadership and Followership


    Leadership and followership have the same coin but different face that we live by from the moment were born. Being on one of them does not mean you’re just on that side, you can be a follower with your employer and a leader in your personal life. Both concepts have a broad meaning and cannot be adjusted into a short range or to a specific situation. Nevertheless, the relationship between them are endless and neither one of them can survive without the other. Moreover, whenever the leadership is setting an exemplary role, the follower will follow up exactly at the same level or at least the majority will do.  Although, there is a correlation relationship between them, but it is always the leadership that has responsibilities to create reforms, expansions, and prosperity in the society. Furthermore, there is a very thin line between them and that line must be recognized by both side to ensure that commonsense balance is always present. For example, leaders sometimes forget to impose equality for all the followers under their responsibility due to the general system that has a limitation for them to spot that equality gap. Additionally, in this case, it’s better that a follower steps up to leadership and point out that gap and act accurately to close it by the right means. I feel that there is always a significant amount of useless area between leadership and followership that can be filled with enthusiasm, passion, and productivity.  

  1. My family heritage and background have greatly influenced my perception of leadership in several ways. The experiences that you get in your early childhood days from the interactions that you have had with your family often re-emerges in your adult life interactions that you have with others including the interactions that you have in the business world. In that sense family becomes your first “organization,” and your family members become your first “management team.” It is your family life and upbringing that affects the ways in which the leaders respond to the pressures and the way they behave with their team members (Barry, 2015). My family upbringing was such that where I had many siblings and had many relatives with whom I used to interact quite often, which I believe has helped me develop my communication skills which I use as a leader also.
  2. The first time I realized my leadership potential was when I managed to finish my first big project in work much before the deadline and that project was a big deal to company performance and efficiency. Furthermore, the project was to transform hundreds of thousand paper data to electronic data which I was able to do with four member’s team and the timeline was two years and we finished it in just one year. As a result of my initiative, everything got sorted. There I was able to realize my leadership/influential skills.
  3. Values play a very crucial role in our lives. Besides taking decisions as per your values and philosophies, recognizing and understanding a given situation at your work place with respect to the values and philosophies of other team members is also very important. When an individual is able to establish a link between his or her own personal values with those of his or her employer, then a powerful connection is created (Anonson, 2014).
  4. Teaching can also be a way to shape the beliefs of a person regarding leadership. For example, The teacher who I can say had changed my life, and my views of leadership were my English teacher. When I was in 6th grade, there was a student in my class who was quite shy to speak up in the class, but Mr. Sultan (English teacher) showed faith in him and always encouraged him to speak even if he was wrong. And later on, that student became a very good spokesperson even at college level.
  5. At present concerning my professional work, I look up to my manager who is one of the executive, Mr. Abdullah as my role model for the most respective leader. The qualities that I admire about him are that he focusses on strength. He not just focusses on his own strengths or the strengths of the company, but also makes efforts to improve the strength of others in the organization as well. Besides this, he has got the qualities of trust.
  6. As an HR professional or line manager, HR Competencies will help me to become a better leader or follower and enhanced my team effectiveness. Earlier, before the development of leadership competencies, leadership was thought to be a task to be done only at the top level in the organization. Only the senior level people in the organization were able to take decisions and influence all in the organization (Shanafelt, 2015). Although, by the advancement of leadership competencies, it is now becoming an essential part in every level of the organization and not just by the upper-management.
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Leadership function that I was able to demonstrate while working with my team was being polite and friendly with my team members, and that gave me the advantage to have a better communication with them and to be opened to sort any misunderstanding that might happen.

The Challenges and problems that I faced in my leadership were that though I was liked among my team members but due to this informal bonding, I lacked that respect that as a leader I should be getting and also people used to take my orders for granted.

But as soon as I face this problem, I started working on the ways to overcome it. And for that purpose, I rather than encouraging informal communications, started taking up weekly formal meetings with all members.

Race and gender also sometimes have an impact on leadership. When a female is given the position of a leader, many male team members refuse to follow her ideas. Also sometimes people do not cooperate with their leader on the basis of his nationality or caste.

Ethics play a very important role in leadership. Sometimes leadership places employees in compromising positions which can result in dissatisfaction and thus can completely tarnish an organization’s image and mission. Thus, leaders must take ethically correct decisions in the organization.

On taking my self-assessment test, I got 37 points as a leader, which shows that I am a team player who enjoys working in the team.

After my own experiences of working as a leader and a follower, I have noticed two dimensions of followership which are competency and relationship. Competency requires working well with others by analyzing them as a source of work. Whereas relationship requires building trust and improving communications. Whereas as a good leader, your strengths are being patient, confident, a role model and being polite to all. Using these strengths when your performing the leadership or followership role will enhance the reliability of your role and your part of any team.

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After assessing my own experiences, I can say that followers can either “make or break” the leaders by influencing the way the goals are achieved. Being a good follower means you take responsibility to back your leadership with any assistance they need to be on the right path and most importantly remained them if they lose their tracks.

By being a good follower, you don’t really have to be a sheep and follow blindly to the leader, but rather you must develop those skills of a good follower which will help you become a better leader (Derler, 2014).

Thus, my future goals would include becoming a good follower to become a role model when following ethical leadership when it comes to being a leader.

Thus, it can finally be concluded that followership is nothing but the mirror image of leadership and becoming a good follower will not let you down rather will help you in becoming a great leader. Also, leadership is inefficient without good followers.

Barry, T. R. (2015). Top 10 qualities of a project manager

Anonson, J., Walker, M. E., Arries, E., Maposa, S., Telford, P., & Berry, L. (2014). Qualities of exemplary nurse leaders: perspectives of frontline nurses. Journal of nursing management, 22(1), 127-136.

Shanafelt, T. D., Gorringe, G., Menaker, R., Storz, K. A., Reeves, D., Buskirk, S. J., … & Swensen, S. J. (2015, April). Impact of organizational leadership on physician burnout and satisfaction. In Mayo Clinic Proceedings (Vol. 90, No. 4, pp. 432-440). Elsevier.

D. (2015). Leaders in the Shadows: The Leadership Qualities of Municipal Chief Administrative Siegel, Officers. University of Toronto Press.

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Black, S. A. (2015). Qualities of effective leadership in higher education. Open Journal of Leadership, 4(02), 54.

Derler, A., & Weibler, J. (2014). The ideal employee: context and leaders’ implicit follower theories. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 35(5), 386-409.

Bligh, M. C., & Kohles, J. C. (2015). Approaching leadership with a follower focus.

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