I am starting to think about the subject and behavior of followership. A workshop is scheduled for the end of the month and I like to engage in significant free-thought prior to researching and gathering the work of others. Warren Bennis has done a great deal of work as have other thoughtful people so I certainly cannot take credit for the concept. Perhaps the current thinkers cannot take full credit either as the disciples focused on being good followers over 2000 years ago and Attila the Hun inspired great followers as well.
The first layer of thinking comes in the form of skills or behaviors consistent with adhering to the voice or intent of the leader. One assumes at this point that there has been a voluntary choice to follow a particular person, dogma, method and so forth. The non-voluntary type of follower enters into a dialogue of survival and that is for a later reflection. A few skills associated with voluntary follower-ship are; rigor, critical thinking, curiosity, inquiry, research capacity and community membership.
Rigor is required as a means of being true to the particular theory or personal intent. A certain accuracy or strictness to the thought, belief or person being followed is required in order to do good for what is being practiced. The rigor I suggest is not the sort of mindless rigor associated with a cult. The strictness is enveloped in a field of mindfulness (a practice added to good followers).
Critical thinking is a required skill developed by great followers. Likenleaders, followers come in all stages of development. A weak follower not practiced in the skill of critical thinking serves not the good outcome but serves to create problems never before thought of.
Curiosity, inquiry and research capacity are separate and intertwined skills that serve the follower to do good in ways not specifically imagined by the leader.
Community membership is required in order to perform the tasks of followership. In order to do good one must not exist in a vacuum.
The second level of followership is to understand the personal power of a Leading. The Quakers speak of this as a powerful force that can not be turned away from. This level of followership requires additional sets of skills.