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A lot of trees gave their lives for no good reason.
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.