When Is Followership Leadership?


Interesting that “followership” is a word we rarely hear. My spell checker didn’t even know the word. According to Webster the word wasn’t even used until 1928 while the word leadership has been in use since 1821.

And yet, without followership, there is no leadership. As Vistage Speaker Rick Eigenbrod reminded us in his recent presentation, “the one characteristic all leaders have in common is they all have followers”. And, Rick also reminds us that the best leaders also are good followers. We learn by following.

So, what is followership? Webster defines it as as following or the capacity or willingness to follow a leader.

For me,  followership happens when someone is doing something that is worth following. When the leader is doing something, saying something, creating something, accomplishing something that we want to be a part of, participate in, contribute to.

And, followership is also leadership.

  • When was the last time you chose to follow instead of lead?
  • What about the leader inspired you to follow?
  • What about the first follower perhaps inspired you to follow as well?

Elisa K. Spain