Leaders and Followers: Roles and Influences

What are the specific roles leaders and followers have within business organizations?

Drastic changes have occurred in the last few years in the position and duties of the leaders within the company or business establishments. Before these changes, the role of a leader was quite explicit: the person in charge stood on top of the team and gave direct and precise orders. Nonetheless, nowadays, the position of the leader has shifted as more and more companies embed the strategy of dividing the employees into teams with almost equal positions within them in order to accomplish their goals. The post of the leading person in the team of the present day is divergent from the classic direction function, as it lies in not directing and ordering the group members but in guiding and coordinating them.

One of the main roles of the modern leader is to assist the team members in receiving new information, to teach the best-known practice concerns, and to intervene in the work process at the right moment. Moreover, the leader needs to learn how to pass on the necessary knowledge, how to give comprehensive advice, and how to trust and be trusted (You are only a leader 2009).

The roles of the follower are limited to providing helpful and appreciable backing for the leader. Moreover, the follower has to take advice, trust, and accept the help of the leader; in other words, to maintain the credibility of the leader (If you’re going to lead 2006).

What influence do leaders and followers have on each other?

The binary relations between the leader and the members of the team are the essence of the exchange theory, which impacts both sides. The capability of the leader is directly related to the constructive feedback from the workers. Some researchers say that “followership is the mirror image of leadership” (Vugt, Hogan & Kaiser 2008, p. 11); furthermore, these two processes cannot be isolated from each other. In the business environment, the difference between leadership and followership occurs to be rather insignificant. In order to achieve the highest efficiency, the leaders would be forced to level down and collaborate with other members of the team, while the followers would need to enhance their work and assert the leadership. These processes require certain alliances and harmonious work so the company would give the best performance (Landrum & Daily 2012).

Think of a time when you were both a leader and a follower. What were the issues associated with this dual-role situation, and how did you cope with them?

I have already had the experience of working both as a leader and as a follower. As someone already in the workforce, my experience involves knowing how to interact with employees both above me and below my current position. However, there have been several complications. For example, as a follower, I have been criticized by people who stand higher on the career ladder. This experience only forced me to realize the mistakes made by a leader, and I will try to avoid them in my future career.

What were the critical elements that you learned about both leading and following in this situation?

The critical and the most noteworthy element of the leadership is to relate yourself to the other members of the team. The leader should not be harsh and criticizing but helping and passing down the knowledge. The follower, on the other hand, needs to distinct the leader from the worker and follow the orders, which can come in the form of advice.


Landrum, N & Daily, C 2012, ‘Corporate accountability: A path-goal perspective’, International Journal of Business Insights & Transformation, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 50-62.

Vugt M, Hogan, R & Kaiser, R 2008, ‘Leadership, followership, and evolution: Some lessons from the past’, American Psychologist, vol. 63, no. 3, pp. 182-196.

You are only a leader if someone wants to follow you 2009, online video, Books24x7, Web.

If you’re going to lead, trust your judgment 2006, online video, 50 lessons, Web.