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DescriptionHow does Kelley’s typology categorize “the yes people” followers, and what distinguishes them from other types of


How does Kelley’s typology categorize “the yes people” followers, and what distinguishes them from other types of followers?

Leaders Can’t Lead without Followers
Student’s Name
Leaders Can’t Lead without Followers
Leadership and followership in any organizational context are inseparably connected.
These concepts are regarded as a key for the prosperity of businesses. Leaders cannot lead
without followers, and followers usually do not only follow, they often are involved in the
success or failure of a leader. Followership typologies offer us the possibility of looking into the
different ways followers behave and think and also what leaders and organizations can do to
ensure high performance. Knowing how different types of follower behaviors work with
different leadership styles and creating a work environment free of any conflicts is the key to the
productivity and harmony.
Northouse (2022) mentions various typologies; Zaleznik, Kelley, Chaleff and Kellerman,
each presenting unique perspectives on followership. Zaleznik categorized followers into
impulsive, masochistic, withdrawn and compulsive subordinates. Kelley identified types of
followers like exemplary, pragmatic survivors, alienated, conformists, and passive. Chaleff
proposed follower styles like partner, implementer, individualist, and resource. Kellerman
classified followers into five types based on their level of engagement and support for the leader:
isolates, diehards, bystanders, activists, and participants.
Among the various types of followership outlined by Northouse (2022), Kelley’s model is
the most concise and valuable in terms of understanding a follower’s behaviors. The key
behavior within this typology is the exemplary follower. An exemplary follower stands out due
to their proactive attitude when trying to achieve the organization’s goals. These followers not
only do the given task assigned to them but also think independently, take the initiative if the
need arises, offer feedback when required, and participate in the decisions making processes.
These team members are devoted to the organization’s success and they are ready to challenge
the leader’s own assumptions or decisions in a polite manner. In the given instance, leaders
become followers, which Williams (2021) say, helps leaders to interact with and understand
employees and see their business from another perspective. This is a source of employees to
express their own ideas and to create an atmosphere of creativity and innovation.
Moreover, we examined the transformational leadership style which is composed of
idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized
consideration (Northouse, 2022), which is an excellent choice for exemplary followers.
Transformational leaders motivate, inspire, and encourage their followers to think critically and
challenge the status quo, aligning with the proactive and independent thinking of exemplary
followers. They also ensure to foster positive reinforcement as Riggio (2022) argues that both
punishment and withholding rewards can discourage employees and make them lose motivation
to serve the organization. Exemplary followers are motivated and succeed in a setting where
their accomplishments and contributions are recognized and commended. Therefore, the
transformational leadership is in harmony with exemplary followers, which creates a synergy
that supports the positive change and innovations in the organization.
Consequently, leaders should not only lead but also develop followership. They can
achieve this by devising a culture of trust, open dialogue, transparency, and mutual respect
(Williams, 2021). They should be actively involved in listening to followers and getting their
feedback, recognizing their views, and creating avenues for professional development and
learning opportunities. Another way is by leading through example, which means that the leaders
should demonstrate the behaviors and attitudes they expect from their followers, such as
integrity, commitment, and openness to learn and change (Northouse, 2022). Through creating
an atmosphere in which followers are valued and motivated, leaders could inspire followers to
exhibit outstanding followership behaviors that shape the organization’s success.
In conclusion, followership is one of the essential elements of leadership. The application
of various followers’ typologies can help leaders to adjust their strategies to the existing
followers’ behavior and attitude. Through the acknowledgment of the value of exemplary
followers and adopting a transformational leadership style, leaders can establish an environment
that enables cooperation, creativity and the common purpose of business objectives. Ultimately,
building a strong followership based on trust, clear communication and mutual respect can be a
stepping stone to both leaders and organizations achievements.
Northouse, P. G. (2021). Chapter 13: ‘Followership’ in Leadership: Theory and Practice. Sage
Riggio, R.E. (2022, March 13). 5 leader behaviors that are guaranteed to de-motivate you.
Psychology Today.
Williams, B. (2021, May 16). When Leaders Need To Be Followers. Forbes.

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