When Leaders and Followers Support Each Other

In many companies and organizations there has been a shift to remove the gaps in terms of strong leaders and devout followers. There was once the term ” shared leadership “, a concept that helps to soften the demarcation line between leaders and followers. The fact is that it is not comfortable to use the term follower. However, the use of the concept of ” shared leadership ” is limited because it is not realistic to eliminate all the differences in the roles of a leader and a follower .

Instead, we need a dynamic followership model that balances and supports dynamic leadership. We need a model that helps us embrace rather than reject the follower’s identity because that model speaks of our courage, strength, integrity, responsibility, and sense of service. There are many proactive views about the role of the follower, which makes it parallel to the role of the leader. This approach is used when we realize that leaders rarely use their strengths wisely or effectively over a long period of time unless they are supported by status followers to help them do so.

Maurice A. Buford in the book “Bold Followership”, said to be a follower good, a follower who dared to take a few qualities that make a follower can provide the best for a leader and the organization. Maurice said there are eight required properties, namely: Wisdom, Humility, Character, Connection, Timing Tone, Servant’s heart, Resourcefulness.

Wisdom is the wisdom of taking insights gleaned from knowledge of the correct methods of organization and applying them in the daily course of things. Humility or humility can be defined as the awareness to give thanks spontaneously that life is a gift and it is manifested as a selfless acknowledgment of dependence on life not on oneself.

A good character or name is synonymous with having a perfect reputation and character. This intangible variable , when lost, can distract and even cloud followers’ courage to act and speak the truth to power or personal gain. The fourth characteristic of courageous followers includes the connection they have built. Throughout their years of hard work and commitment to excellence, the perfect name introduces them to a variety of personalities who, without a doubt, will guarantee their ethos and work name and will be happy to work with them again if given the opportunity.

Brave followers accept the fact that there is such a thing as “too late,” but they also know that “too early” both can be problems. Maurice calls this timing. For tone , Maurice explained that followers who are brave often receive violence from a leader. To this end, courageous followers understand the importance of tone. Because there is a saying that “a soft answer distracts anger, but harsh words stir anger.”

follower also has a heart to serve – servant’s heart and finally resourcefulnes – the ability to find fast, ethical, and smart ways to solve complicated situations.

Followers who support these leaders are the forerunners of later leadership. Bernhard Sumbayak, founder of the Indonesia Leadership Model, has a strong concept of linking followership and leadership. Bernhard stated followership and leadership are two sides of a coin that can not be separated, both are interrelated with one another, to be a ‘good leader’ , one must be a ‘good follower’ advance Examples of various organizations that are quite old, many use the Indonesian Leadership Model to maintain organizational continuity.

Bernhard has done research for Followership Habit and the result for a follower the most important thing is to be a trustworthy person  they can become a trusted person. Bernhard sees 2 important things to be trustworthy , one is related to character, the other is competence , someone can become trustworthy if they have both.

‘Be willing to take initiative’ is seen as the second most important Followership Habit . The leader wants his subordinates to take the initiative in doing the task, without having to wait for orders first. The initiative in this case can be in the form of an idea or an action.

Respondents both chose ‘developable’ and ‘be willing to collaborate’ habitats and were ranked 3rd. A follower is expected to develop his knowledge , skills, and abilities for the growth of themselves and their team as well. By giving themselves the opportunity to develop, the spirit of leadership in them will develop. In addition, a follower is expected to be invited to work as a team.

The leader also hopes that followers can solve problems as soon as they find them, so that the results achieved will be better. This is reflected in the habit ‘fix problems as they occur’ . Then, through the habit of ‘stay current and be anticipate’ , leaders have the expectation that their subordinates are always up-to-date and follow the latest developments in their respective expertise.

Furthermore, ‘be tough (determination)’ shows that the leader expects his followers to be tough and have a strong determination in facing the pressure that arises. Talking about this habit, there are often many potential followers who are smart, but not tough enough to face reality or their supervisors , so they don’t develop as they should. Finally, ‘always get involved’ when a leader expects that followers will always be involved in work activities, both individually and in teams.

From their second opinion, I see that for the continuity of an organization , good followers with the characteristics and habits described above are needed. Because there are no good followers , there will be no regeneration from the organization. I added five dimensions that a follower needs to have in order to succeed: the courage to support the leader and do everything possible to contribute to the leader’s success. The courage to take responsibility for common goals and act whether or not to take orders directly from the leader. The courage to constructively challenge (challenge)the behavior or policies of the leader or group if these threaten a common goal. The courage to participate in whatever transformation is necessary to improve leader-follower relationships and organizational performance. Courage to take a moral stand when asked to prevent ethical violations or, at the very least, to refuse to participate in them.


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