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04/18/2012

Leader and Follower


Leader and Follower

Introduction

The relationship of the leader and the follower/s cannot be easily detected in an instant. There are various actions or approaches regarding the stability of this relationship and often the followers react according unto what is the expectation of the leader. In other view, the followers follow because of the influence created or the role being played by the leader that caused a great impact in their personality. The structure of the leader and follower relationship was affected by the internationalization or globalization. The focus of the leader-follower relationship is interpreted in the organizations and by giving value to the importance and roles they play; the leader and follower can fid the links that ties them together.

In previous years, many scholars, business analysts, and researchers are focused on the connection of the motivation, training and development, organizational culture, and leadership styles in the attempt to explain the improvement of the people regarding their performance. But the biggest connection that can possibly attached to the improvement and professionalism of an individual lies in the relationship within the working place. In this case, the importance of the relationship in the working environment, such as the open communication of the employee on his employer is a great investment on part of the employee to jump into that opportunity.

The Ideas on Leader and Follower

Based on the provided material, the leader and follower relationship can be affected and drive into different directions due to various issues. Firstly, the issue of the gender and sex can be the most important issue in the organization for in conveys different reactions and points-of-view. Normally, people believe that an effective leader lies only in the hands of the males, and the females are trapped as being the followers. This statement is merely a type of discrimination and battle of the sexes. But gradually, after learning the various areas that needs to be considered to be a leader/follower, the issue on the gender and sex diminishes. More likely in the education, which certainly plays an important role in leadership, an individual who possessed the highest educational attainment can be a leader according to what education he mastered. This makes sense that the gender and sex is not the focus of organization but the knowledge and skills that an individual may contribute to the progress of the organization.

On the part of the charismatic leadership, the relationship between the leader’s charismatic qualities can be the function of the follower’s perception. The ability to persuade others helps the leader maintain their power and influence others. The followers perceived that the leaders are the kind of people that can help build and guide them. Also, the characteristics built in the followers perception is in the matter of knowing the best answers in every question and with the identity of a person that has a pure spirit (Dumas and Sankowsky, 1998).

However, there are many challenges in the relationship of the leader and follower that if not managed well might lead to the failure of the relationship. One common and yet popular challenge are the rapid changes that appears within the organization. The changes can be the factor that affects the role of the leaders and the followers, or in other words, misalignment of duties. If the leader ignored this idea or did not create appropriate action, the role of the followers might remain stagnant while the modernization hits the rapid pace. Accordingly, the trust and ethics which are both part of the organizational core values might be also affected due to the changes. For example, there is an event of merging and acquisition of the organizations and the diversification cannot be avoided. The differences of the organizational culture affect the trust and idea of ethics being built within the individuals. More often, if the management did not detected the appearance of the conflict in the working place, there is a chance for the organization to lose their best employee/s. This is an inevitable side of the leader-follower relationship but all can be resolved in the two parties leave an open communication.

The Role of Leader and Follower

The increase in interest of the business leaders towards the efficiency of the performance can be traced on the essential roles of the leaders and followers. The focus of the leader is to examine the different angles or perspective in the transactions and transformation approach. Also, followers and their role to develop from a new and conceptual model can give rise in the effectiveness of their relationship and partnership (Rosenbach, 2007).

Leaders are important for they can facilitate the people according to the goal and objectives of the organization. With the help of the experience, leaders can effectively guide the people by adjusting their values, changing perspective, and learning new habit. Various theories of leadership had been recognized in attempt to bring the best outcome of the people. But on the ongoing investigation of the researchers in the leadership theory and the idea of “follower-centered” approach (Fujita, Aji, and Kyaw, 2009). The extent of the leadership theory is concerned with the behavior and attributes which is also concerned with the follower behavior. From the observation, the leaders are the people on which the subordinates or followers depend on and their words can empower or destroy the role of the follower (Hantula, 2009). Leaders are responsible for building organizations where people continually expand their capabilities to understand the complexity, clarify the vision, and facilitate the learning (Agashe and Bratton, 2001).

The followers are almost the same as the leaders for they also play a crucial role in the organization as well as the analysis of the leadership. Obviously, there are no followers if there are no leaders to stand before them and be a model. The followers are also attempting to find an opportunity to be a leader but this aspiration is impossible if there is no good leader or leadership (Hantula, 2009). It seems like the power of a leader is to influence others most especially the followers. The perspective of the followers to be influenced by others is part of the ideal characteristics. In the stay of the individuals in the relationship, there is also a possibility that the both leaders and followers influence each other. In the strong belief of the individuals regarding the goals of the organization, the follower could give an eager support with the leader. However, follower should point out flows of leaders when leader fails to implement the organization’s goals or leader is doing unethical. The differences of the leaders and the followers in behaviors are in the dimension of the two parties to support and be challenged. The continuous development of the leader-follower can now be described as partners and the essential roles are being divided among them (Rosenbach, 2007; Fujita, Aji, and Kyaw, 2009).

Importance of the Leader-Follower Relationship

It is essential to the success of an organization if there is an effective leader-follower relationship. From the leadership skills, the effectiveness of the subordinates according to the goals of the organization can increase the organization’s productivity. A good leader-follower relationship encourages the leader-efficacy and group-efficacy which promotes the effectiveness of the entire group. However, the failure of the relationship definitely represents the opposite effect and can destroy the role. Some reasons that might demonstrate the failure of the relationship is the level of stress, absenteeism, tardiness, and turnover that creates a negative outcome in terms of the performance (Rigdon, 2006).

The Effectiveness of the Relationship

The effectiveness of the leader-follower relationship reflects in the organizational effectiveness. The contribution of the relationship affects the organizational behavior that is appealing on the part of followers. The determination of the follower to follow the example of the leaders can be the greatest achievement of the relationship. In the exploration of the relationship and its contribution towards effectiveness, the concern regarding the motivation, relatedness, competence, and autonomy needs of the individuals are determined (Vondey, 2008). Ideally, the leader has a responsibility to fulfill the competency, relatedness, and autonomy; and on the other hand, the follower is motivated in nature to act according to the needs. These behaviors are the response of the relationship towards their commitment in organization (Silverman, et al., 2007).

Theory of LMX

The theory of the leader-follower relationship can be emphasized in the Leader-Member Exchange Theory or LMX. The theory of LMX is focused on the relationship of the leaders and their subordinates in building a unique way to influence the performance and contribution of both leaders and followers directly to the organization. In this way, there is a chance to build a future leader among the bunch of the followers. In addition, the team up or the matching of the leaders and the followers can be an essential model with the accordance of thinking and acting based on the present situation. The model being applied in the leadership can also explain the situational theory that recognizes the degree of the relationship and the behavior (Fujita, Aji, and Kyaw, 2009). The use of an integrated model in leadership and followership centers in working together and sharing their visions. In this way, the respective roles they play within the organization remains active and can stand along the changes in the organization.

Team Dynamics and Team Static

Through the connection of the leader and follower, dynamic roles can be created. The most basic idea regarding the dynamics is the implementation of the knowledge flows. Specifically, the interaction of the people and the appropriate use of the communication created a change in the business environment, which is inevitable in the performance of the organization. The dynamic roles of the team are assumed to be performed by the leaders and their supporters or followers.  The aim of the team to provide the quality of the system starts in the design of the business and the familiarity with the system (Tan, et al., 2006). The increasing efforts of the followers enable the leader to facilitate the flow of knowledge. If the organization attempts to pose a success story in the globalization, competitiveness is needed. The dynamics in the leader-follower relationship can be the effective approach because of the idea of surviving through the proficiency and learning the key areas in business environment. This can improve the quality in leadership because it allows the participation of the followers that can sustain the competitive advantage. A workplace that manages the work and learning co-exist, seeks to yield the in-depth understanding of the leadership practices that can help in bringing the change and renewing the organizations through learning (Agashe & Bratton, 2001).

When the relationship is said to be static, there is a clear illustration about the traditional hierarchy of the roles and authority. Leaders are superior and the follower is a subordinate that is below the status of the leader. The relationship does not change which means that the leaders are in the position because of the experience, credentials, power, and seniority. Meanwhile, followers are individual who acts according to the carrying orders, fear of competition, and/or attempts for the security (Silverman, et al., 2007). Literally, the static relationship emphasizes that leaders are born to “lead” and the followers are present to “follow”. The utilization of this kind of idea in the organization is a typical arrangement of commands and structure of employees. The team is divided according to their specialization and follows the instruction of the leaders, where there is a clear distinction between the leader and follower (Tan, et al., 2006).

Recommendations

In the working environment where pressure and stress plagued in the roles of the individuals, it is important that leaders’ recognizes the needs of the followers to at least, minimize its impacts. Considering that the leaders has an essential feature based on their characteristic as a leader and the competence, still it is expected that leaders holds integrity on their role within the organization. The use of humor in the workplace can effectively lessen the pressures and stress. Ideally, an employee can be easily persuade if there is a great opportunity due to the application of the motivation, but without the support coming from his environment, the employee might feel a little enthusiasm and more anxiety. However, there is no evidence that humor can be linked on level of interaction of the leader to the followers. Humor, on the other hand, as an effective solution to lessen the negative feelings can be relevant in the work performance of the people. Leaders, with various characteristics, also have the different point-of-view on humor. It seems like the ethical integrity of the leaders can enhance the processes in the workplace openness. Leaders of high integrity should have more positive working relationships with their followers, which may then be leveraged into higher levels of employee contribution (Vecchio, Justin, and Pearce, 2009). Followers of leaders who manifest both a high level of integrity and a high level of humor should experience higher levels of workplace wellbeing, which in turn should generate higher levels of performance. Also, it is recommended most of the business analysts that workplace must be conducive for the employees wherein they can utilize their time in helping the organization achieve its long term goals. Therefore, leaders must take a lead and create a positive change in working behavior of the employees. With the strong bond of the leaders and the followers, the positive outcomes can contribute in the organization. 

Conclusion

Globalization is increasing as the time passed and the impacts are generally felt across the globe. It is not right to simply ignore its influence therefore, the organizations pursue for a global change through the strategic choice of internationalization process. The main key that plays an important role in the internationalization process is the effectiveness in leadership. The revolving question on “why people follow” remains in the ground of the leader-follower relationship. People follow because they believe that the leader is a qualified role model that can contribute in improving the lives of the followers.

There are no leaders without followers, and vice versa, there are no followers if there is no one who will stand to lead. In the long run, if the follower manages to excel in his work, he or she is qualified to be a leader. Leadership is commonly described with the involvement of the authority which demands the support of the followers. In a dynamic process, the relationship of the leader and follower can be effectively implemented because of the continuous process of knowledge. The effect of the humor in the organization can enhance the performance of the people most especially in times where there is an absence of the effective leadership. The application of the humor can be originated on part of the leaders. Humors can make the people close to each other and promotes the communication. Conflicts and challenges between the relationship of leader and follower are however, inevitable if it is purposely intended in promoting the effectiveness and efficiency in the workplace. In the global competition, the business leaders are looking forward to achieve the advantages against their rivals and gain success in the long run.

References:

Agashe, Z., & Bratton, J., 2001. Leader-Follower Dynamics: Developing a Learning Environment, Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 13, No. 3 [Online] Available at: http://www.psmprogram.sa.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/agashae-z-bratton-j-2001-leader-follower-dynamics-developing-a-learning-environment.pdf [Accessed 08 April 2010].

Dumas, C., & Sankowsky, D., 1998. Understanding the Charismatic Leader-Follower Relationship: Promises and Perils, Journal of Leadership Studies, Vol. 5, No. 4.

Fujita, K., Aji, W., & Kyaw, W.A., 2009. Primary Study of Leader and Follower Relationship in Asia: Empirical Study on Manager at AEON in Asian Countries, International University of Japan [Online] Available at: http://www.iuj.ac.jp/im-info/Publications/pdf/IM-2009-04.pdf [Accessed 08 April 2010].

Hantula, D.A., 2009. The Essential Leader-Follower Relationship, The Psychological Record, Vol. 59, No. 4.

Rigdon, W.D., 2006. Duration and Depth: The Effects of Leader-Follower Relationship Quality on Observer Ratings of Leadership Performance [Online] Available at: http://dspace.uta.edu/bitstream/handle/10106/371/umi-uta-1219.pdf;jsessionid=6276D62254B1B517275BB5DDCE14154E?sequence=1 [Accessed 08 April 2010].

Rosenbach, W.E., 2007. The Leadership Paradox: The Dual Role of Leader and Follower, Journal of Dental Education [Online] Available at: http://www.jdentaled.org/cgi/reprint/71/1/63.pdf?ck=nck [Accessed 08 April 2010].

Silverman, B.G., Bharathy, G.K., Nye, B., & Eidelson, R.J., 2007. Modeling Factions for ‘Effects Based Operations’: Part I Leader and Follower Behaviors, University of Pennsylvania [Online] Available at: http://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1326&context=ese_papers [Accessed 08 April 2010].

Tan, M.T., Tan, H., Koh, E.R., & Kong, E., 2006. Evolving Team Dynamics in IS Implementation [Online] Available at: http://is2.lse.ac.uk/asp/aspecis/20060039.pdf [Accessed 08 April 2010].

Vecchio, R.P., Justin, J.E., & Pearce, C.L., 2009. The Influence of Leader Humor on Relationships between Leader Behavior and Follower Outcomes, Journal of Managerial Issues, Vol. 21, No. 2

Vondey, M., 2008. Effect of Follower Self-concept and Self-determination on Organizational Citizenship Behavior from a Servant Leadership Context, Regent University [Online] Available at: http://www.midwestacademy.org/Proceedings/2008/papers/Vondey_26.pdf [Accessed 08 April 2010].

 

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