In The European Business Review, Barbara Kellerman argues that the outcomes of leadership teaching are greatly diminished if the essential and growing importance of followers and contexts is not properly recognised.
Kellerman sees leadership not as a person but as a system with three equally important components:
- Leaders – who are important, but not to the exclusion of everyone and everything else.
- Followers – the others, variously known as stakeholders, constituents or ordinary people, who the leaders aim to carry along.
- Contexts – the circumstances surrounding the leaders and followers.
The “leadership industry” – Kellerman’s catch-all term for the many institutions, people and resources seeking to teach people how to lead – rarely devotes significant attention to how followers and contexts interact with leaders.