INTRODUCTION

Warren Bennis

Who is not fascinated by the dance between leaders and followers, who depend on each other as surely as animals and air? But until recently, followers have been largely neglected in the study of leadership, an omission famously addressed by contributor Robert Kelley in his 1988 Harvard Business Review article "In Praise of Followers." Now, almost twenty years later, we have this welcome book, a long overdue exploration of leadership's underappreciated complement in all its complexity, as role, relationship, and process. It is no surprise that books on leadership, promising to reveal the secrets of countless football coaches and historical figures as disparate as Moses and Attila the Hun, outnumber those on follower-ship several thousand to one. After all, leadership is the prize that ambitious men and women have struggled and even died for at least since Alexander the Great. Whether their field is politics, business, science, or the arts, leaders are at the center of the action, the envied if not enviable stars whose lives seem to burn a little brighter than our own. We aspire to their power and its perquisites even as we take unseemly pleasure when one of them stumbles and falls. Indeed, the moment when each of us realizes he or she is mostly a follower, not a leader, is a genuine developmental milestone; who forgets that painful leap over the line of demarcation between the boundless fantasies of childhood and the sober reality of an adulthood in which ...

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