Home >  Blog >  Leadership and Followship

Leadership and Followship

Posted by Philip Smith on 6 April 2020

Solutions are available, courage is often not.

What do you have in your organisation?



There has always been a great deal said about leadership and we live in a time now, where good leadership will make a difference to the final outcome, when we have "tamed" this virus. 

I do not believe that "Good" leadership can be taught, despite the vast amounts of money spent on this pointless endeavour, but accept that I might be a lone voice in the wilderness.   

Over the years I have met a great many Leaders who were incompetent at best, but had an absolute belief in their own infallibility. 

To quote from a Harvard article ( dated 2012 - but not much has changed, other than the amounts wasted ).

About $162 billion was spent in 2012 in the United States on corporate trainingin what Harvard Business School Professor Michael Beer calls the "the great training robbery."

"Part of it is a fad. Everybody's doing training. Everybody's got (corporate) universities. Everybody's got leadership development programs," Beer says

Some studies have shown that only 10 percent of corporate training is effective,

There are far too many incompetent people in "leadership" positions both in government and the private sector, imho. 

We have too many fearful leaders, who allow business activities and behaviour to be dictated by small splinter pressure groups. This is a telling indication of not having clearly articulated principles to govern or lead, as well as having feet of clay, in the leadership team.

To put this into perspective Diana Johnston in her book "Circle in the darkness" described what passes for Leadership, to be more a matter of Followship.

Describing how the school she attended, evaluated leadership qualities in students.

"It was like a military hierarchy, the good soldier obeys orders and if he exceeds, he will get to give orders. That is Leadership in America ".

Any crisis will show up poor leadership, but if the management team practise "Followship" as the path to promotion, poor leadership might survive, as they can always blame the virus. 

This virus provides a great opportunity, for all of us, to review whether we practise Leadership or Followship in our organisations.  

Without the courage to eliminate or reduce poor leadership, rebuilding this country will take decades longer than it should.

While we are all sitting around, might I suggest you read just one book to improve your "leadership skills".

To get a taste for this book,read this article and go from there.


Good luck to everybody.


Philip SmithAuthor:Philip Smith
About: Philip specialises in getting projects and businesses that are not performing as well as expected, back on track.
Connect via:LinkedIn