Something interesting happens when you type the word “Followership” in a word document. You get that wavy red line underneath the word, you know, that red wavy line you get when you type in a misspelled or in-correct word (Try it now as you read and see for yourself). When you investigate further, by right clicking the word Followership in the word document, to see if you can get a better suggestion for “Followership,” you get words like “Follower-ship, Fellowship, Followers-hip.”
I don’t know about you but those words have nothing to do with the meaning of Followership. It almost looks like a conspiracy out there to completely eradicate the word “Followership,” from our vocabulary.What I find interesting, is that many people don’t like to associate themselves with that word or anything that relates to it. If fact, some people have proposed using a different word to represent what Followership means. Some say ” Well, we get the idea or the message behind what that word connotes but can we just do something about that name?” We are constantly bombarded with ads and books that magnify the need for leadership and not a lot expounding the virtues of Followership.
I find this very sad because there is no leadership without followership. John Maxwell said in his book “The 21 Irrefutable laws of Leadership,” that ” He who thinks he leads and no one is following is only taking a walk.” I agree, leadership and followership are different sides of the same coin. So trying to remove the very consciousness or essence of followership from our mind-set is like having a coin with just one side. A coin with just one side is fake and unreal. In the same breadth, Leadership without followership is also fake and unreal.
Jesus said, ” Follow me and I will make you fishers of men (Matthew 4:19).” Paul said “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).” Your strength as a leader or the influence you will have on others will depend greatly on your ability to follow which is your Followership.
If we have proved the significance or importance of followership as it relates to leadership, then why is there such a push to undermine it? First of all, I think that there is a negative connotation to the word Followership. People see followers as weaklings, idiots and zombies. Also, there is an unattractive perception of Followership that makes us not want to identify with it. Finally, Followership is not a felt need, people would rather listen about leadership or how to make millions than to listen to a message on how to follow.
What we don’t realize is that following after the right principles, people, instructions and having the correct perspective of what it means to follow is what will get us those millions we so passionately desire. So before we eradicate Followership from our vocabulary, let’s try to understand it first.