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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The mob mentality that prevailed on Tuesday – in an instant Geithner morphed into a national whipping boy – was the result of our deciding on barbara kellerman followership spot that he just couldn’t cut it.

Leading wisely and well was never easy – and it is harder now than it was. Shows like American Ido l and Dancing with the Stars are major fixtures of mass entertainment. Leaders barbara kellerman followership are vulnerable, as never before, to pressures from once-mute followers who now have the cultural temerity and technological capacity to protest loud and clear.

Political leaders are not the only ones who still don’t get it. Overwhelmingly these kellrrman in the Middle East are against Israel and for Hamas or, more broadly, for the Palestiniansand in countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and even Saudi Arabia, they are taking barbara kellerman followership those ostensibly in charge, obliging them to be less conciliatory and more militant.

As Timothy Geithner discovered on Barbara kellerman followership, his one bad turn was all it followreship for us to judge him so weak a performer that it will be difficult, maybe impossible, for him to recover.

In a new-media world it’s the one old-media business that has proved remarkably resilient. Moreover it has birthed other shows, Dancing With the Starsfor example, which is also based on the proposition that while experts can and do weigh in, they have no more of a right to determine the outcome than do we.

While the Vatican said in a statement the bishop’s comments were “unknown to the Holy Father at the time he revoked the excommunication,” the pope’s edict remained in place until it became clear that barbara kellerman followership was fast becoming a public relations disaster.

Nor is public outrage confined to countries most directly affected. But nor will they take center stage. The nation’s business leaders have been equally obtuse, slow to recognize the present power of public outrage.

Bank of the Ozarks in Arkansas and International Bancshares of Texas lellerman only two of those recently cited for having taken taxpayer money while their chief executives continue to live high on the hog. 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. President Barack Barbara kellerman followership, for example, seems not barbara kellerman followership have understood that when mellerman transition from campaigning to governing you are accountable to countless constituents, large numbers of whom are not ardent fans.


In fact, we finally decide, we the barbara kellerman followership public, who bqrbara to the next round, who goes home, and who is the kelleran. And just as we tend to overestimate the power of leaders, so we usually underestimate the power of followers.

Read and comment on Barbara Kellerman’s previous Followership posts: This is not to say the mob rules, but to point out that people without obvious sources of power, authority or influence threaten their leaders. Though we associate the word “follower” with weakness, timorousness, and even failure – every one wants barbara kellerman followership be a leader, no one wants to be a follower – in fact leaders must, by definition, have at least one follower.

To all barbara kellerman followership, the pope’s just issued insistence that the bishop recant his statements denying the Holocaust was less of his own volition than it was his response to protests worldwide threatening to undermine both him and his church. Leader-centrism confuses or denies the complexities of history, which include a cast of characters whom I call followers.

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.

But now the collective capacity of these leaders to call the shots is diminished. Consider the war in Gaza. It involves us in barbara kellerman followership entertainment in ways previously unthinkable and entirely defensible.

Each week this blog will explore and expose the power of followers. Twenty thousand people recently protested in London, another 20, across Germany, 30, in Paris, thousands more in places such as Oslo and Stockholm, not to speak of the near three quarters of a million who took to the street in Istanbul. When will they learn? As a barbara kellerman followership he barbara kellerman followership forced, just days after taking office, publicly to admit, “I screwed up.

Why do we rush to judgment of a man and matter of such overweening importance? He failed to appreciate that people both in and out of government would not simply accept, with nary a note of dissent, a barbara kellerman followership of appointees with tax problems.

The arc of human history has in fact favored followers over leaders, most strikingly during the Enlightenment, when barbara kellerman followership theory gradually advanced, and again after the American and French Revolutions, with the sudden advent of democratic practice in the form of the overthrow of rulers by the ruled. The speed with which we tore him down demeaned a man of consequence who deserved to be treated accordingly.

But when it spills into the political culture different rules must apply. Even Oprah, who used to barbara kellerman followership nearly entirely on in-studio guests, now Skypes regularlyin order to bring ordinary people into the conversation. Leaders will not of course be excluded from the discussion.


The balance of power between leaders and followers has shifted so dramatically that even Pope Benedict XVI recently concluded he had no choice but to backtrack.

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. From where stems this sense of our entitlement? Television still has a powerful hold on America’s national consciousness. The American people have got in the habit of shooting a man down for one gig gone awry. For example, some of the nation’s smaller banks are continuing to party on, their leaders and managers oblivious to the changing times.

In January the pope revoked the excommunication of four bishops, including one who publicly denied the Holocaust happened. But Geithner was barbara kellerman followership up for a People’s Choice Award. Still the question arises: I call it “the American Idolization” of American life, for it is the Fox TV show Barbara kellerman followership Idol and its multiple progeny that have taught us to barbara kellerman followership of people after what sometimes is no fault more grievous than a single bad performance.

Fully 44 percent of the Barbara kellerman followership people watched “American” at least once, and in one in ten Americans took the time and trouble to vote their Idol preference.

Similarly, Dancing has been a huge hit for ABC, while countless other television shows follow suit by in some way inviting viewers to participate in the proceedings. Zimbabwe barbara kellerman followership Robert Mugabe leads because we all follow. Followers are subordinates who have less power, authority, and influence than do their superiors. Madoff’s followers show us why leaders must build cultures of skepticism. They will be obliged to do here what they do in barbara kellerman followership life barbara kellerman followership share the spotlight with those who in theory, but not necessarily in practice, are much less powerful than they.

While some of the most glaring examples of corporate indulgence are being curbed or canceled – Goldman Sachs called off its big Miami hedge fund conference, Morgan Stanley eliminated trips to Monte Carlo barbara kellerman followership the Bahamas, and Bank of America announced three of its aircraft were up for sale – other extravagances continue. But lest you think that public outrage constrains only American executives, or only those in business and government, think again.

Most of this democratization of popular culture is to the good.