Leadership and Followership: 21 Key Observations

credit: iStock / Dilok Klaisataporn

I was reading recently about a couple of different situations involving traits of both leadership and followership.

First, there was the statement by Liz Cheney that “The 2020 presidential election was not stolen,” contradicting recent statements from Donald Trump, setting up a battle for Republican Party leadership, and prompting a Tweet from Rep. John Rutherford (R-Fla.) asserting that “Liz Cheney does not understand the responsibilities of leadership.”

Then there was the brouhaha at and around Basecamp, following some controversial leadership decisions announced by the founders, including: “no more societal and political discussions on our company Basecamp account,” and “no more committees.”

Some reflection on these two situations has compelled me to dispense the following bits of wisdom on the subjects of leading and following. Some of these may seem obvious, and some controversial, but they are all equally true and valuable, based on my own experience doing a fair bit of both in a number of different organizations.

  1. Leadership consists primarily of making decisions and communicating those decisions.
  • The decision has significant consequences,

Note that the four conditions above are joined by an and: if any of them are missing, then it may be best for the leader to defer to others.

I will leave the application of these observations to the two situations mentioned earlier as an exercise for the reader.

Chief Practopian at The Practical Utopian

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