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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Followership: Leading From Behind by Akin Odidi is a guide for individuals and organizations looking to cultivate a better system for grooming a fresh batch of new leaders and to strengthen the leadership and objectives in place by engaging those who work in supporting positions. Odidi sets the framework on a solid foundation of experience and the reality that not everyone is leadership material, and this book isn't about transition everyone into one. Instead, he compartmentalizes the different styles of followers and distinguishes challenges that inhibit optimal performance in virtually all aspects of the workplace. Over the course of fourteen distinct and interconnected chapters, Odidi covers such things as the dynamic that reflects a leader through their followers, motive, and motivation, aids for effective followers and leaderships challenges, what holds a leader back from strengthening followership, and courage and accountability, among many other things.
I once had a boss tell me that he always hired people who were smarter than him. He hired with a wide net for diversity and talent that he knew he did not have. This has stuck with me for years and it wasn't until reading Followership that I fully understood what he meant. Akin Odidi does a fantastic job in harnessing the sweet spot, an equitable balance for all members of a group or organization, from the bottom up. My favorite section is in chapter 10 on Defective Vision by Leadership. It was perhaps the biggest 'ah-ha' moment for me when Odidi quotes a source saying, ‘Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems.’ The standout here is that this is the result of leaders not just muddling their vision, but more than that it cultivates apathy among rudderless followers instead of galvanizing them with a legitimate purpose. This is the book I wish I'd had fifteen years ago. Fortunately for those who need it now, this is an excellent resource.