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What Is Kelleys Effective Followership? [15 REPLIES FOUND]

What distinguishes an effective from an ineffective follower is enthusiastic, intelligent, and self-reliant participation—without star billing—in the pursuit of an organizational goal 🤓 Effective followers differ in their motivations for following and in their perceptions of the role 🙌 Some choose followership as their primary role at work and serve as team players who take satisfaction in helping to further a cause, an idea, a product, a service, or, more rarely, a person 😊 Others are leaders in some situations but choose the follower role in a particular context. Both these groups view the role of follower as legitimate, inherently valuable, even virtuous. [1]
In the “followership” model developed by Dr. Robert Kelley, the “effective follower” is an intelligent, motivated, and self-reliant individual who is driven by a desire to support a vision or cause that they understand objectively and believe in. And while they may not be interested in actually being a leader, it is their role as a complement to the leader that makes good leadership even possible. Because while the leader is responsible for setting the vision and communicating that vision to his followers, the effective follower is actually the one that takes responsibility for understanding the vision, coordinating with teammates, troubleshooting the process, and capably managing the tasks required to bring the vision and end goals to fruition. (we appreciate Michaelle McNair from Lome, Togo for telling us about this). [2]
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According to Kendrick Battle at, kelley developed the KFQ with the purpose of helping followers identify their type and strive for increased independent, critical thinking and active engagement. Although Kelley’s model is cited as an important contribution (Crossman & Crossman, 2011; Chaleff, 2009; Kellerman, 2007; Riggio, Chaleff, & Lipman-Blumen, 2008), the KFQ has not been widely tested and lacks broad empirical support. Despite this fact, the KFQ is implemented in followership research through multiple studies. First, the KFQ was used to explore follower types within organizations (Al-Anshory & Ali, 2014; Francis, 2014; Kalkhoran, Naami, & Beshlideh, 2013; Oyetunji, 2013; Thomas, 2014; Vandoren, 1998). Second, the KFQ was utilized in investigating relationships between follower types and other behavioral and psychological traits (Burke, 2009; Gatti et al., 2014; Tanoff & Barlow, 2002). The remaining studies focused on follower types and organizational outcomes (Favara, 2009, Gatti et al., 2014; Kalkhoran et al., 2013; Morgan, 2014; Seeley, 2007); however, only five investigations focused on validity and reliability support for the instrument. Blanchard et al. (2009), Colangelo (2000); and Seeley (2007) did not find consistent validity support for the KFQ; however, Gatti et al. (2014) supported an Italian 14-item KFQ questionnaire based on the original KFQ, while Ghislieri et al. (2015) found significant empirical support for an Italian 8-item KFQ. (we really thank Ericberto Crowley from Izhevsk, Russia for their most recent insights). [3]
Ironically, the ability to work on one’s own initiative, with minimum supervision and to think for oneself is key to being an effective follower. This means that a leader can delegate work, safe in the knowledge that it will be dealt with effectively, and that certain tasks will be carried out without the need for supervision. Kelley believes that effective followers often regard themselves as equal to leaders in all but designated rank. They are confident enough to challenge leadership decisions and tend not to feel intimidated by those further up the organisational hierarchy. That being said, they appreciate that even their leader will probably report to someone, and will therefore try to take the needs of their team and the organization as a whole, into account. Kelley points out that self-managed followers tend to save organisations money because they need less supervisory control, thereby reducing administrative costs. [4]
Passive followers tend to be just that, uncritical and unproductive unless they are shown what to do and are actively managed. These people will tend to follow blindly and just do what they are told to do, and they will do it how they have been shown to do it and no more. They tend not to vary their working practices and don’t engage with change well unless they are told exactly what to do. If these people aren’t given a brief and managed they will do nothing productive, typically surfing the internet or anything else they want to do. These people often appear to have lots of time on their hands. If you give them a job they will do it and stop, waiting for the next instruction. (modified by Gunner Hay on October 19, 2021) [5]

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Mae Chow

Written by Mae Chow

Passionate about writing and studying Chinese, I blog about anything from fashion to food. And of course, study chinese! I'm a passionate blogger and life enthusiast who loves to share my thoughts, views and opinions with the world. I share things that are close to my heart as well as topics from all over the world.

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