Followership vs Leadership

The Power of Followers.

Arsem Asikoglu
3 min readMar 27, 2021


Let’s start by answering what followership is. Followership is the active and independent critical participation towards achieving organizational goals. Let me repeat that definition with your attention to these two crucial highlighted words.

Followership is the active and independently critical participation towards the achievement of organizational goals.

These two highlighted words are essential in measuring followership in any organization.

Followers directly affect leaders and the leadership process. Therefore, Followers are a vital part of the equation for an effective leadership process.

It’s impossible to have successful leadership without solid followership. Success and failure highly depend on the actions and behaviours of the followers. And a true leader is always accountable for the empowerment and engagement that maximizes the efforts of followers.

A good leader knows the power of followership and is aware of the type of followers they have.

Remember, I stated that the words Active and Critical are essential in measuring followership in any organization? Well, they categorize followers with two matrixes.

The first matrix is active participation vs passive participation of followers, and the second matrix is independently critical thinking vs dependent uncritical thinking of followers. (Shown in the picture below) Based on the results of these matrixes, there are five types of followers.

Image by the author.

Five types of followership

  1. Exemplary followers:
  2. Conformist followers:
  3. Passive followers:
  4. Alienated followers:
  5. Pragmatist followers:

Exemplary Followership

Exemplary followers are high in both active engagement and independent critical thinking. They can think for themselves, engaged with organizational goals and the leader’s vision. They would even be willing to…



Arsem Asikoglu

Former growth & development director of one of the largest NGO in the world called JCI. Currently providing solutions that matter. More info: