PRECIS: Followership

A huge part of business management is about effectively dealing with interactions between people; these are line and not HR functions!  If you do not consider leadership as part of management, read Henry Mintzberg on the subject.

The evidence is convincing and clear: companies gain significant financial benefit when they build an enabling, enjoyable workplace and nurture mutually rewarding relationship among employees: Return on invested capital 3 – 4 times greater than in companies that do not. 

 “Management isn’t about supervision & control … while managers may be nominally in charge, they are rarely in control of everyone’s performance … making joint performance possible and superior is one of management’s greatest challenges.”  (next précis)

This quotation is from Joan Magretta in What Management Is.  Joan Magretta, previously editor at Harvard Business Review, wrote this excellent, no nonsense, non-guru, short book on the essence of management – find it at (a superb site for finding difficult to obtain or out of print books); enter the title under key words (lower case) and, if you wish, just her surname in the author space.  It will cost more to ship than purchase! 

 “There can be no leaders without followers.  People seek, admire, and respect – that is, they follow – leaders who produce within them three emotional responses. 

The first is a feeling of significance.  Followers will give their hearts and souls to authority figures who convey, “You really matter,” no matter how small the followers’ contributions may be.

 The second emotional response followers want from their leaders is a feeling of community. Community occurs when people feel a unity of purpose around work and, simultaneously, a willingness to relate to one another as human beings.

Finally, followers will tell you that a leader is nearby when they get a buzzing feeling. People want excitement, challenge, and edge in their lives. It makes them feel engaged in the world.” 

Extract from a powerful 1 page article: Followership, Rob Goffee & Gareth Jones.

Roger Stewart           

June 2020                              

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