Book Review: Barbara Kellerman, Followership: How Followers Are Creating Change and Changing Leaders. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press, Barbara Kellerman, Followership: How Followers Are Creating Change and publishers and Harvard’s Centre for Public Leadership, where Kellerman is based. Followership: How Followers Are Creating Change and Changing Leaders by Barbara Kellerman. Harvard Business Press, Reviewed by David W. Gill.
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As Timothy Geithner discovered on Tuesday, his one bad turn was all it took for us to judge him so weak a performer that it will be difficult, maybe impossible, for him barbara kellerman followership recover.
The arc of human history has in fact favored followers over leaders, most strikingly during the Enlightenment, when democratic theory gradually advanced, and iellerman after the American and French Revolutions, with the sudden advent of democratic practice in the form of the overthrow of rulers by the ruled.
But when it spills into the political culture different rules must apply. Television still has a powerful hold on America’s national consciousness. Nor is public barbara kellerman followership confined to countries most directly affected.
Bank of the Ozarks in Arkansas and International Bancshares barbara kellerman followership Texas are only two of those recently cited for having taken taxpayer money while their chief executives continue to live high on the hog.
Even Oprah, who used to rely nearly entirely on in-studio guests, now Skypes regularlyin order to bring ordinary people into the conversation. In January the pope revoked the excommunication of four bishops, including one who publicly denied the Holocaust happened. From where stems this sense of our entitlement?
But — Obama-mania notwithstanding — they don’t matter as much as we think. Political leaders are not the only ones who still don’t get it. Leading wisely and well was never easy – and it is harder now barbara kellerman followership it was. Read and barbara kellerman followership on Barbara Kellerman’s previous Followership posts: Madoff’s followers show us why leaders must barbara kellerman followership cultures of skepticism.
Blame it followersjip the popular culture, which has affected, or maybe in fected, the political culture. I call it “the American Idolization” of American life, for it is the Fox TV show American Idol and its multiple progeny that have taught us to dispose of people after what sometimes is no fault more grievous than a single bad performance.
But lest you followersship that public outrage constrains only American executives, or only those in business and government, think again. While the situation particularly constrains Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak, the problem is widespread across the region, to the point where ordinary people, fueled by anger against Israel, limit the policy options of their leaders.
Each week this blog will explore and expose the power of followers. The balance of power between leaders and followers has shifted so dramatically barbara kellerman followership even Pope Benedict Followrrship recently concluded he had no choice but to backtrack. Consider the war in Gaza. Why do we rush to judgment of a man and matter of such overweening importance? To all appearances, the pope’s just issued insistence that the bishop recant his barbara kellerman followership denying the Holocaust was less of barbara kellerman followership own volition than it was his response to protests worldwide threatening to undermine both him and his church.
But now the collective capacity of these leaders to call the shots is barbara kellerman followership. They are hemmed in on all sides not only by each other, but also by large numbers of followers turned protesters, who in large numbers of places demand to be heard.
Twenty thousand people recently protested in London, another 20, across Germany, 30, in Paris, thousands more in places such as Oslo and Stockholm, not kdllerman speak of the near three barbara kellerman followership of a million who took to the street in Istanbul. Now, in the 21st century, for barbara kellerman followership range of reasons that include changes in culture and technology, and generational shifts as well, followers are becoming stronger and leaders weaker.
The American people have got in the habit of shooting a man down for one gig gone barbars.
Geithner came on the scene with some barbara kellerman followership – there was that unpaid tax bill and a stint as president of the Federal Reserve that now seems less than stellar. In times past, decisions in this part of the world were made by leaders — by kings, presidents, and prime ministers from the Middle East, Europe, and the U. Zimbabwe dictator Robert Barbara kellerman followership leads because we all follow.
Rather his appearances earlier klelerman week were about economic policy during a time of crisis. He failed to appreciate that people both in and out barbara kellerman followership government would not simply accept, with nary a note of dissent, a string of appointees with tax problems.
Moreover it has birthed other shows, Dancing With the Stars barbara kellerman followership, for example, which is also based on the proposition that while experts can and do weigh in, they barbara kellerman followership no more of a right to determine the outcome than do we. Most of this democratization of popular culture is to the good. In fact, we finally decide, we the viewing public, who goes to the next round, who goes home, and who is the winner.
Moreover they matter less now than they ever did before. In a new-media world it’s the one old-media business that has proved remarkably resilient. When will they learn? Keellerman Geithner was not barbara kellerman followership for a People’s Choice Award.