There have been many observations regarding the characteristics of a leader, but followership has received less attention. Treister and Schultz (1997) “suggests that a "follower is someone who accepts guidance and, on receiving it, takes the appropriate action." Treister et al (1997) also state followership is “considered a passive or submissive role of lesser importance than leadership. However, the effectiveness of leaders to a large measure depends on the qualities of their followers.” Treister et al (1997) go on to say “good leadership enhances followers, just as good followership enhances leaders." So followers are just as important as leaders are to a leader/follower relationship.
Some have categorized followers in different
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These followers are “completely detached” according to Kellerman ( 2007). Kellerman (2007) goes on to describe “these followers are scarcely aware of what's going on around them. Moreover, they do not care about their leaders, know anything about them, or respond to them in any obvious way.” Larger organizations will see more isolates because they can disappear easily. Kellerman (2007) also goes on to say “their attitudes and behaviors attract little or no notice from those at the top levels of the organization as long as they do their jobs.” These followers can “impede improvement and slow change” according to Kellerman (2007).
The next typology is bystanders. Kellerman (2007) states these type of followers “observe but do not participate. These free riders deliberately stand aside and disengage, both from their leaders and from their groups or organizations. They may go along passively when it is in their self-interest to do so, but they are not internally motivated to engage in an active way.” Kellerman (2007) also feels these followers are like isolates because they “can drag down the rest of the group or organization.” These types of followers can be useful to managers if they are productive.
Isolates and bystanders can be encouraged to increase their levels of engagement and ultimately their productivity when the root causes of alienation is determined and appropriate intrinsic and extrinsic rewards are offered