As a leader, have you ever had the followers who are passive but lacks responsibilities? Or, who needs your direction always and ever?, Or who are always active and loyal shining star in your organization?

Just like there are different types of coffees, Yes, there are different types of followers too. As a leader, you must always know about your followers, as followers are the most essential part of the leadership equation.

“Followers are more important to leaders than leaders are to followers.”
— Barbara Kellerman

There are different followership types and the leaders must be able to act according to the types of followers. According to (Kelley, 1988), followership styles can be defined by 5 types as :


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These types of followers are generally are passive, dependent, and lacking responsibilities and initiatives. They usually tend to do things that are told, and leave the thinking part to the leader. A constant supervision is required for these types of followers. Leaders can give some performance feedback and appraisal for the Sheep type followers to motivate in creating positive team dynamics in an organization.


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These types of followers need a constant direction from the leaders. Even though, these types of followers are active, they are completely dependent on their leader. The Yes-People followers generally agree with the leader without any doubt and tend to avoid conflict.


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These types of followers are considered to be smart, active, independent, critical thinkers and rarely open to the leaders. Since Alienated followers are passive, they generally do not put an effort to help the team achieve its goals. Alienated followers might offer passive resistance when they do not agree with the leaders. Leaders must always ask for their input and show that these types of followers are a valuable asset in an organization.


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These types of followers are very skilled at surviving any type of change in an organization and are known as to be chameleonic. They can go with the flow, and follow the path of least resistance. Survivor followers are safe players, tend to take fewer risks, and fear of making mistakes.


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These types of followers are loyal, always active, responsible, risk takers, and supportive to the leaders. They are taken to be the problem-solvers, critical thinkers, and respectful to the leader’s authority. Effective followers tend to seek feedback for continuous learning and self-improvement and are also known to be “dynamic followers”. These types of followers are valuable assets to the leaders and the team.