Posted in Leadership

Leadership And Followership - By L. Burke Files

President of Financial Examinations & Evaluations, Inc.


So what is it that makes someone a good leader or a good follower? Understanding this is what builds cooperation, the state of grace in which an organization finds themselves when the leaders and followers all understand and act upon and within their overlapping roles.  Cooperation is what builds buildings, highways, bridges, computers, or television programs. Cooperation and hard work are the essence of leadership. Quitting is not an option and quitting can take many forms, as leaders and as followers:  


We quit by all trying to be generals.

We quit by refusing to support of leaders.

We quit when we ignore the wishes of our followers.

We quit by having to be right.

We quit by being selfish and withdrawing.

We quit by becoming ambivalent.


We could spend an inordinate amount of time discussing leadership. As it is, much time is already spent in our schools and in professional education highlighting this top. But what do we really learn about followership?  


This is not about ruler and serf, it is about cohesive direction versus anarchy.  If we took our lessons to heart and we were all leaders, we would each have our nation of one, a nation sovereign unto ourselves. We would not be leaders - as there would be no followers. Anarchy and lawlessness may be interpreted as the default state of a collection of opinionated loners.


Leadership and followership! So, in fact, it is that one cannot exist without the other.  Further, every leader is also a follower as well as all followers have leadership responsibilities.  Let me explain.


•A CEO is expected to follow the general will of the organization, not one specific group or a single person’s will.  The CEO has been chosen and given this opportunity to lead. The CEO’s responsibility is to the robustness of both the position and the organization at large. The CEO must discharge these overlapping responsibilities to the best of their abilities.  


•The Board of Directors have their own specific individual responsibilities of leadership and they have a duty of followership not only to the CEO but also to the shareholders and employees.  It is not a case of blind submission to the CEO.  It is an obligation to follow the CEO’s lead and to support the CEO’s lead, in as much as the lead is not materially adverse to the organization.


•The Committee Chairs have a duty to follow the lead of the Board of Directors, to support the Board of Directors and it’s efforts for the benefit of the organization and for the benefit of the shareholders. The Division Supervisors are the leaders of their respective groups and are required to muster the efforts of the divisions to fulfill the needs and requirements set forth by the Board of Directors and the shareholders.


•Each and every employee has an individual duty to lead by example of their words and deeds for each and every other employee  - no matter their station in the organization or in life.  They also have a duty of loyal followership to the divisions, to the Board of Directors and yes event to the CEO, no matter who they may be. If there is a disagreement or a dislike or even an upset, it is the duty of the employee to communicate that issue to that division , to the Board of Directors or to the CEO.  Maybe things can be done to fix the problem.


One can substitute different positions in the example above for ones own big business, little business or social organization - the principles holdfast.


Good followership, is in effect, is good leadership. I challenge you to serve in both capacities versus only one.


Mr. Files is a published author of five books, in particular "Due Diligence for the Financial Professional, 2nd edition 2010" and "Money and Budgets" other writing and material can be found at .  Mr. Files is an international speaker on these topics. 


FE&E, Inc. is an international investigative firm specializing in, fraud prevention, asset recovery, due diligence, anti money laundering and intellectual property. 


As a financial industry insider for over 30 years he is keenly aware of the type, and accuracy of the information required to make decisions. Mr. Files has been the case manager on fraud investigations ranging from tens of thousands of dollars to over 3 billion.   As an international expert on due diligence and Intellectual Property and Critical Information (IPCI) he is regularly sought for those cases that bedevil the desktop practitioners. 


This article is courtesy of the Top 1% Club and the Top 1% Club Mentor Gail Kasper. For additional information on Gail Kasper, her television appearances and speaking engagements, please visit