A passive follower is an individual who does not show active participation, critical thinking, or independent thinking. Therefore, they are considered not to show initiative or a sense of responsibility.
When you become a passive follower, you listen to what your boss always says. When your boss gives an order or a task, you carry it out without question.
The five types of followers
In the Kelley follower style model, individuals are divided into five groups based on two main parameters: dependency on critical thinking and their behavior (from active to passive participation). Critical thinking refers to how individuals pay attention to what is happening around them and how the team can achieve shared results. It is about trying to contribute to the team.
Active behavior means how individuals act, whether they wait for others to raise their hands first and then follow or they initiate.
Of these two parameters, Robert E. Kelley categorizes followers into five categories:
- Alienated follower
- Conformist follower
- Passive follower
- Pragmatist follower
- Exemplary follower
Alienated followers are independent and critical thinkers, but they have low active participation. They can be cynical because they don’t get a promotion or because they have stayed too long in one position.
Conformist followers are thinkers who are not critical but actively participate. They like to be told what to do and will submit to the leader. They will avoid conflict by all means and take the loneliest path but will defend their boss to the extreme loyal.
Passive followers are individuals who do not think critically or actively participate. They don’t involve their brain enough, nor do they take any real action.
Pragmatic followers are somewhat independent individuals in their thinking and active involvement. They are measured and limited in their criticism of leaders. They can switch between different styles of followers to adapt to each situation.
Exemplary followers are followers who think critically and are actively involved in the group. They can be counted on to provide constructive, critical input and to act on their initiative. They face change, put forward their views, and stay focused on what the organization needs. They understand how others see them.