Welcome to myschoollibrary! In our Social Studies lesson today, we will be looking at the topic “Leadership And Followership”. Do have a great moment studying with us!
Subject: Social Studies
Topic: Leadership And Followership
Learning Objectives: By the end of the lesson, the learners should be able to:
- Explain the terms leadership and followership;
- State the qualities of a good leader and good follower;
- State the consequences of bad leadership and Followership.
The Need for Leadership
We usually live in groups. The first and basic group we live in is the family. Every group in which we are a part have goals and objectives. These objectives have to be achieved by members of the group. However, for the objectives of the group to be achieved, the activities of each member of the group will have to be coordinated so that they complement each other. If members of a group work at cross purposes, the goals of the group will never be achieved. Also, if group members are perpetually in conflict, activities will be paralysed and goals will never be achieved while efforts and resources will be wasted.
Therefore, in every group, from the family, through the school club to government, there is usually the need for somebody or group of people to ensure that there are clear goals for the group, that members of the group know these goals and that they work towards achieving them. Such people take the lead and others follow and obey them. This is not just because we need them, but because we trust then and we believe in their competence and ability. They inspire us and guides as towards achieving the goals of the group and sometimes our own individual goals. These kinds of people are called leaders.
Who is a Leader
A leader is usually used to refer to the head of a group. The leader guides and directs other members on what to do. But to be able to lead, he or she should have an idea of what should be done and how to do it. Thus, a leader is someone who has or shares a vision that he or she believes in and influences and guides others to participate in achieving that vision. Sometimes we have a chance to choose our leaders. For instance, in a democratic society, leaders are elected. In other situations, we do not have the opportunity to choose our leaders. We do not have a say in the choice of our parents. In the school we may be allowed to choose our class prefect or teacher may appoint somebody. But when we do have the chance to choose there are certain qualities we look for in order to make our choice. For instance, we will prefer an intelligent, hard-working and disciplined person to a lazy, playful and dull one. Thus, there are qualities that a leader should possess. Those who aspire to leadership positions must therefore cultivate these qualities.
Qualities of a Good Leader
There are some qualities that a person should possess that make that a person a leader. For instance, a leader should be able to think clearly and deal with issue. He or she must be of good temperament such that would make people trust and rely on him or her. He or she must have sympathy and Interest in the followers’ problems. The person should possess a strength of character, integrity, reliability and a sense of justice and fair play. A leader has to be educated as he or she is likely to gain the support of the followers for his or her programmes as result of his or her personal knowledge. The leader must be committed to his or her ideas and should be respectful of the beliefs, rights and dignity of the followers. Also, he or she should be consistent, generous, humble, honest, modest and fair in dealing with other people. Some of these qualities are illustrated below;
i. High Intelligence: High intelligence is an essential quality of a good leader. Followers want to be proud of their leader. A leader in one place may need to meet other leaders in other places. No one wants a leader who is inferior to other leaders. A leader who has low intelligence will not be able to cope with the responsibilities of his or her office. Every group requires the high Intelligence of a leader for that group to be successful. The leader must be able to do things for himself or herself and also be able to choose the right people to do particular jobs. There are always problems in any group. It is the leader who find ways and means of solving the problems and quickly too.
ii. Hard Work: A good leader must be a hard worker. Often leaders have to carry additional responsibilities, many of which are expected while others come unexpectedly. A good leader’s capacity for work must therefore be great. Moreover, a hard working leader shows a good example for others to follow.
iii. Honesty: Honesty is a great quality in a leader. People trust honest leaders. They give him or her their confidence. Honest leaders are respected and their followers are proud of them.
iv. Good Example: A good leader must lead by example. The idea of the group or organisation must be seen to be practised by a good leader so that his or her followers can be convinced that their leader believes in the objectives of the group and follow suit. Thus, if any follower goes wrong, the leader who lives by example has a free conscience to correct the wrong doer.
v. Commitment: A good leader believes in the ideas of the group which he or she leads. The leader is loyal to the ideals and tries to defend them against undesirable variations and alterations. He or she remains constant in his or her belief of what the group stands for.
vi. Dedication: Dedication means working hard for a cause or set of ideals. A good leader consistently works hard to maintain the ideals of what his or her group stands for. If there are a set of objectives, a good leader works consistently hard to achieve them.
vii. Resourcefulness: A good leader is able to react promptly to changes in the circumstances affecting the people he or she leads. Suppose there occurs a sudden interruption in water supply to a boarding school. The cooks need plenty of water to cook and wash up. Students need water for their bath and laundry. A good leader could summon an emergency meeting of the relevant committee and invite suggestions or put forward suggestions for consideration. A good leader would be able to persuade his or her colleagues to get water for the kitchen from an alternative source. This self-help scheme could be kept on until normal supply is restored.
viii. Discipline: A good leader is well disciplined. He or she has respect for law and order, respects constituted authority and obeys all rules and regulation. He is punctual in all places where he or she has to be. Can you imagine a school officer breaking school rules? Such an officer is a bad leader.
ix. Service: A good leader is helpful to people. He or she lends a helping hand cheerfully as often as possible. Good leaders do their work because they love the work, not because they want people to praise or reward them. They believe that they have a duty to perform a task and they do it whether or not people observe them.
x. Tolerance: A good leader has a lot of patience to deal with different kinds of people. Whatever they do or say, the leader listens with understanding and tries to keep the group together by putting up with the weaknesses of the followers. He also tries to help his or her followers overcome their weaknesses by being patient with them, helping, advising and persuading them.
xi. Firmness: A good leader should be firm. When he or she says yes he or she should be known to have agreed and when he or she says no, it should not be to the detriment of his or her group. If there is a job to be done and a member is shriking the responsibility, a good leader insists until the job is done. For example, if the penalty for coming late to class is scrubbing the chalk board, the good leader ensures that the chalk board is properly scrubbed.
xii. Fairness: Fairness has to do with using the same standard of judgement for everybody. As in the case cited above, if two late comers were caught one morning, a good leader would let the two of them receive the same penalty for the offence. One should not be punished and the other spared. Also in sharing out things, a good leader ensures that each person has his or her fair share. A good leader does not allow any cheating under any circumstance.
Who is a Follower
This is somebody who is subordinate to a leader. A follower obeys a leader. A follower, therefore, means anyone who accepts the authority of a leader, obeys his or her instructions and yields to his or her advice. A follower is one who recognises his or her responsibility to comply with the orders of leaders and take appropriate action to carry out orders to the best of his or her ability. In the absence of orders, he or she determines the proper action required to contribute to the mission performance and takes that appropriate action. The quality of a follower determines the success of any group. Without good fellowship, good leaders cannot succeed.
Qualities of a Good Follower
i. A good follower should be self-disciplined: The person must have a personal commitment to the successful completion of his or her group’s mission. For a follower to be effective he or she must accept the necessity for compliance and be committed to placing the needs of the group above his or her own needs.
ii. He or she should be loyal to the leader and the society: Good followers should obey and respect their leaders.
iii. A follower should engage in constructive criticism of bad leadership: Followers should not follow their leaders blindly.
iv. A follower should have a high sense of responsibility: This means that the follower must be able to account for the end result of his or her responsibilities. Responsibility implies more than just doing what is required. It includes an obligation to serve and perform in the best manner possible for that individual follower to contribute to the success of the society. This involves hard work and sacrifice.
v. A good follower should be competent: Competence means that a follower must continuously seek to improve on his or her skills. This may take the form of training or education.
vi. A good follower should be obedient to the laws of the society.
vii. A good follower must be punctual at meetings: He or she must not make it a habit of coming late for programmes. Tasks must be done on time.
Consequences of Bad Leadership and Followership
The effect of having leaders and followers who do not perform up to expected standards can have serious consequences for a society. Such consequences are as follows:
i. Civil Unrest: There may be violent protests in a country if leaders do not live up to the expectations of their followers, and the followers in turn do not trust their leaders. In the attempt to replace the leaders, there may be fighting between those who support the leaders and those who do not.
ii. Economic Hardship: Business activities cannot do well in a society where the leaders and followers are dishonest, not disciplined, and do not honour agreements. When there is civil unrest because of bad leadership, economic activities do not do well. People will be afraid to run their businesses.
iii. Failure of Government Programmes: Programmes started by government would not be completed. Abandoned projects such as uncompleted roads, buildings, and water supply scheme’s would be found all around.
iv. Wastage of Scarce Resources: Bad leadership and fellowship leads to the scarce resources of a country being wasted. The resources, in the form or human and materials, would not be used well as no proper monitoring is carried out.
v. Corruption and Indiscipline: When leaders and followers do not live up to their responsibilities, corruption and indiscipline become the order of the day. Leaders abuse their positions by stealing the country’s financial and material resources to enrich themselves. Things are done anyhow without accounting for them.
Done studying? Assess your learning on the lesson topic using the following questions;
- What do you understand by leadership and followership?
- Who is a good leader and good follower?
- How do you identify a good leader and a good follower?
- What consequences can arise from bad leadership and followership?
Were you able to answer those questions? Bravo!!
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