Followership LO16545

William J. Hobler, Jr (
Wed, 14 Jan 1998 15:45:14 -0500

Replying to LO16506 --

In the dialog concerning LO and leadership Ed Berengar commented that:

>An LO approach, I
>believe, implies that leaders and followers work in a coordinated,
>collaborative way. That they put a premium on their ability to
>communicate with one another, to think critically and rely upon one
>another for perspective. That is hardly the approach of the top-down

I think that this is coming much closer to the community relationships in
a true LO. In an LO in which the community shares visions, values and
goals the community members share leadership almost transparently. At a
particular time the situation may call for John to lead the effort, as the
situation changes perhaps Sally is best qualified to lead the effort. The
transfer of leadership will be by mutual consent and probably without
comment. It may be as simple as Sally commenting, "Our next step seems to
be ..." and the community starts moving in that direction.

This is not a new concept, nor is it altruistic. Small high performing
teams act this way. I confine this comment to 'small' teams because it is
in small teams (6 people or fewer) that I have experienced this behavior.
The characteristics of these teams are that they were focused on mutually
accepted goals, the members clearly had complimentary capabilities, they
also respected each other's capability, and they showed care for each

If I were to plot the journey from six strangers to a high performing team
of six I would put establishing the common goals first, then there is a
period of learning about each other and each other's capabilities. All
during this period there is usually an appointed leader who's task is to
facilitate the formation of the team. At some point, usually associated
with either a team crises or epiphany the transfer of leadership will
occur, maybe several times. This is the emergence of the high performance
team. It is time for the appointed leader to retire from the field of
action or to join the team as one of the contributors.

Note the trajectory is first establish the basis of a learning
organization and then address the leadership and followship situation.

Ed, thanks for the lead in.


"William J. Hobler, Jr" <>

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