Customer Reviews: Power of Followership, The
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Customer Reviews

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on September 21, 1999
I had the opportunity to take a class taught by Mr. Kelley at CMU and to have read all of his books. This book has a rather simple concept, that once read, becomes painfully obvious--no matter what our position in life we all follow someone. Even the President of the USA follows opinion polls.
Kelley examines and analyzes the types of followers, their characteristics and identifies methods to motivate them based on their objectives and priorities.
It also includes a test to identify your own followership traits. Very insightful. Should be part of every management training and employee development program.
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on December 27, 2005
As Kelley points out, most of what gets done in any organization gets done by the followers not the leaders. If you want to know how to become an "exemplary follower," or how to encourage those in your families and businesses to become "exemplary followers," this book provides an assessment tool that will allow you to understand your "followership style" as well as the styles of co-workers and family members. Among Kelley's insights is that a person must have a "courageous conscience" to be an exemplary follower. By that he means, the integrity to know right from wrong and the courage to speak up at appropriate times even at personal cost. Kelley makes clear that a strong personal support system and a strong financial foundation are both essential to permit an "exemplary follower" to have a "courageous conscience."
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on July 19, 2013
Upon seeing "leader" all over the cover and title page, I was dismayed as I thought I was getting into yet another book about followership that was really aimed at leaders. Pleasantly, I found Kelley's tone and message to be very helpful to followers like me.

While Kelley's model of followership types has often been duplicated in other books and articles, his most important contribution to me was detailing the 7 paths to followership: why people choose to engage in subordinate roles. From self-expression to self-transformation, and from personal goals to relationship, this paradigm is really useful for debunking the common myth that everyone is (and/or should be) aspiring to leadership and that followership is merely a training ground (or worse, a purgatory) before that reward can be obtained. Sadly, this truth seems to have been surprisingly overlooked in more recent books on followership.

This book is very readable, without getting bogged down in lots of statistics or extended case studies, and yet including enough of each to make relevant points. For anyone interested in followership, it is absolutely worth tracking down a copy of this foundational book.

You can see my Listmania! list on "Followership Resources" for other recommended works.
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on January 18, 2008
This book really puts the responsibility of power in perspective: how followers can effect good/bad leadership; how interchangable the roles can be...
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on September 6, 1997
To paraphrase Kelley, "Without Napoleon, the armies were merely a mob." Kelley's thesis that "followers" are critical to the success of "leaders" is obvious enough to not need much discussion. However, for reasons only known to him (since he doesn't reveal any in this book), he seems able to support his positon only by demeaning "leadership."

Yet, it is obvious that he lacks a fundamental understanding of both followership and leadership. His effort to separate the two and then argue that followers are superior to leaders fails to account for the true relationship: followers are leaders are followers.

Kelley shows his total lack of understanding of leadership by defining leaders as really nothing more than someone with followers, and by constantly referring to ineffective managers, bosses, supervisors, and CEOs as "leaders." Leaders are not leaders because of their organizational position, nor because of their authority (another fatal flaw is his failure to distinguish between authority and power). His examples of ineffective leaders are usually not examples of leadership or leaders at all.

On the other hand, he treats followership as somehow unique. While he places leaders into a single group consisting largely of ineffective, dishonest manipulators, he divides followers into four groups, three of which, to varying degrees, are as ineffective as the leaders that he rails against. His fourth group, the effective followers, even if you accept his flawed thesis that followers and leaders are two distinct groups, have the same attributes that Bennis, Gardner, Heifitz, Burns, and many others, have attributed to effective leaders. Indeed, take his descriptions of effective leaders and give them to any qualified student of leadership, and they would say that he is describing leaders, not followers.
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on October 7, 2013
Good read.
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on November 24, 2015
The Power of Followership shares some great perspective for 99% of us in most situations are not leaders. It also shares some great insights for leaders to get the most if their followers.
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on October 20, 2015
Followership is supposed to be a new field of study and Robert E. Kelley is supposed to be credited with establishing it as far as Wikipedia goes. Whether It is true or not, it is an interesting and easy read. Glad to see that someone has finally correctly "labeled" the followers, it reminds me of the U.S. Navy's concept of "leadership by example."
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