O'Reilly logo

The Art of Followership: How Great Followers Create Great Leaders and Organizations by Ronald E. Riggio, Jean Lipman-Blumen, Ira Chaleff

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

FOREWORD

James MacGregor Burns

We have been brought up as schoolchildren to think of leadership as only the realm of heroes and devils—as in the lives of Caesar, Napoleon, Churchill, the three Roosevelts, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and the like. The people—the voters, the masses—provided only a vague background. But if you define leadership as the mobilization of followers who then become leaders of the original leaders, and if you measure these mobilizations by the harsh tests of moral and ethical values, you begin to understand the complex processes of leadership. You can see Franklin Roosevelt, for example, as a president who entered office without a comprehensive program, then mobilized a desperate people who demanded action, people who in turn forced the administration to fashion the "Second New Deal of 1935," which embodied FDR's lasting leadership.

Sometimes, when I contemplate the endless complexities and mysteries of leadership, I try to simplify its essence by imagining the following: a candidate for local office spots a possible supporter across the street. She crosses over to ask for his vote. He asks her about an environmental issue, she responds, and he promises his support. A reporter happening on the scene might dismiss this as a quick-fix deal. But a student of leadership should see this episode as reflecting a far more complex set of phenomena: their backgrounds and attitudes, the social and political context, and the other factors ranging from the immediate and practical ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required