Brexit: A sad failure of followership

It’s hard not to blame Britons for voting themselves into decades of misery and regret with their choice to exit the European Union. The decision looks so clearly divisive, costly and foolish from my vantage point. Already, the downsides are being felt — a 31-year low in the value of the Sterling, and an 18% fall in the value of British banks. More disturbing, outbreaks of racist violence; Scotland determined to leave Britain and join the EU; the passport office inundated with anxious calls.  Read More


How power followers helped Eddie McGuire realise he was wrong (and why content marketers need to know)

We witnessed the impact of power followership play out this week.

It came in the form of a national outcry against powerful men ‘joking’ about drowning women. Specifically, the president of the Collingwood football club, Eddie McGuire, offering to pay $50,000 to anyone who would like to hold Fairfax journalist, Caroline Wilson, underwater in front of a crowd paid $10,000 each to ‘bomb’ her.

How is this power followership?

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How I wrote this week’s blog

With an impending deadline, I set to work developing the idea for this week’s blog by reading a chapter from Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence. Actually, a chapter is a bit of an exaggeration. I was six pages into it when I remembered the conversation I’d had with my family and I thought that is a great example of the risk of being manipulated, which is one of the key risks that weak followers face. With Cialdini’s book open to the chapter, I started my blog by writing about the dinner.   Read More


How ‘Power followers’ avoid being manipulated

Last Sunday, I realised I’d been manipulated. As a ‘power follower’, who is determined to ask questions of our leaders and society no matter how uncomfortable they may be, I got a bit of a shock. Let me explain how easily we can be manipulated.

It happened at a family dinner, over pizza. My brother showed me that there is no such thing as ‘alcohol-fuelled violence’. It was a belief that I had never thought to question. I have always assumed that alcohol does fuel violence. And I am in good company. In Australian society, this is such a widespread belief that it is almost never challenged.  Read More


Become a power follower

In the early 1980s, publishers released an average of three books on leadership a year, writes Barbara Kellerman, in her book The End of Leadership. By the end of the decade, that number had grown to 23. And today? Well, a Google search will scare the pants off you. There are thousands, if not millions.

The underlying assumption about leadership is that it is so important that the success or failure of any organisation depends upon it. There is no evidence to support the view that great leaders create successful organisations, Kellerman tells us.  Read More


Disagreeing agreeably: Advice for misfits

I’m a professional misfit. The media, at its best, is about independent critical thinking. Challenging stuff is the misfit’s role because it’s harder to be challenging when you feel you belong. I am proud to have contributed to that ideal of independent thinking to the best of my abilities while I was a journalist.

Recently, I realised that the skills of quality journalism – inquiry and communication – are the same as those needed by ‘effective followers’.  Read More