This tutorial will explore followership by discussing:
- FOLLOWERSHIP DEFINED
1. FOLLOWERSHIP DEFINED
Followership involves respect for authority, teamwork, service skills and citizenship. Gen Zers also lack in this area because they view themselves as customers. They are skeptical about organizations as being long-term, stable places of employment. This group is also not used to the type of peer to peer relationships that are considered the norm in workplaces. Even more problematic is the fact they look to those in positions of authority as parental figures that will support them no matter what they do or don’t do.
One large retail chain I know has a longstanding tradition of involving retail sales personnel in all aspects of the business, ranging from creative work, such as providing input on market- ing, to janitorial work, such as cleaning the bathrooms in the store; and everything in between, including buying, inventory management, accounting, legal, HR, safety, loss prevention, and you name it. An executive in the company explained to me: “Of course, we have all those roles in the company: We have a professional marketing team, buyers, inventory managers, accountants, lawyers, and so on. We do use a janitorial service; they are not on their own cleaning the store. But we have a deep commitment to involving the store personnel in everything we do. We talk a lot about cross-training and teamwork. We do it because they are the face of the company to our customers and we want them to own everything in the organization.” The executive added: “That’s also one of the ways we recruit internally for corporate positions—not only store managers or district or regional, but also for other jobs throughout the organization.” What’s the problem? According to this executive, “The new young people only want to do what they want to do. They want to sit on the marketing panels, but they don’t want to clean the store or change over inventory because those things happen after hours and seem less glamorous. They beg for the high-profile, fun, or interesting projects, but they complain bitterly when they are asked to help clean the store or change over inventory. Quite a few of them outright refuse to do it. Quite a few have been fired or have quit over it.” As a result, the executive concluded, “We are currently rethinking our whole approach to these cross-training/teamwork projects.”