Followship is Under-rated

January 27, 2022 11:45 AM | Anonymous member
Leadership is an important focus of MMA, but today let’s take a moment to consider the importance of followship too. defines the action of following as, “to go or come after; move behind in the same direction.” Followship is not the same as that. Followship, according to that same source is, “the practice of doing what other people suggest, rather than taking the lead”. I think the most notable part of this is the second half — rather than taking the lead. To me, the idea of followship is realizing that an idea you have or an action you want to take is shared by someone else and then making the choice to go along with them, instead of going a different direction on your own.

At first glance, this idea doesn’t seem that significant, or even hard. The world is full of followers. For some, following can be harder than leading. Our culture is so oriented to individualism and individualization, we are used to doing our own thing. Followship requires us to let go, at least a little, of having everything exactly how we want it. It requires that we go along with something, even if we know we could do it better. That is hard!

As we celebrate the 50
th anniversary of MMA, we are learning and talking a lot about the leadership of the organization. Followship has been critical for MMA as well. For every person who stepped up to lead, there were many more who may or may not have agreed with the direction or focus, but came along anyway. I think about all the times the organization has faltered or stalled, and I am sure there were many who were frustrated during those times. They didn’t give up and they didn’t start over somewhere else. They stuck with it and supported those who were leading by being followers. And it is those people, and their ability to let someone else lead, that has made what we do possible. Today, I celebrate the current and past followship of the Michigan Museums Association. Thank you to all of you!

Lisa Craig Brisson
Executive Director

The Michigan Museums Association is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Arts and Culture Council

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Michigan Museums Association       313-334-7643       PO Box 5246, Cheboygan, MI 49721

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