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The Critical Relationship between Leaders and Followers: Influencing Organizational Culture


Task: How do leaders influence organizational culture and what role do followers play in this relationship?



Productive leadership is regarded as one of the enhanced fundamentals to generate great culture in an organization. A leader is an individual who influencesor authorize an organization. Organizational culture is imperative as it provides enhanced quality as well as safety. The report provides an overview on critical nature of a relationship that exists between a leader and a follower. Leaders can strengthen values while instantaneously holding individuals accountable.But the influence can either be positive or negative irrespective of leadership style as well as strategy execution. The report also evaluates the way leaders might influence organizational culture. It shows the way a leader create, strengthen as well as destroy organisational culture by their interactions with the employees of an organisation. This has been followed by the role of the leader and the importance of trust.

Critical nature of the Relationships between Leaders and Followers

In organisations, the leaders and the followers share a very close and significant relationship. It is believed that if someone cannot be a good follower, the person can never be a good leader. The leaders and followers in an organisation are inseparable because neither of them can exist exclusively without the other. For organisational success, the role of leaders as well as followers is equally important. Both of them have their own responsibilities and duties. The projects or operations are accomplished successfully through effective communication and coordination between the leaders and followers (Torney, 2020). The leaders cannot get their work done if the followers deny to obey and act. The followers need the leaders to help them grow. The leaders and followers are one team.

The followers who are effective make productive leaders and vice versa. The leader has the power to influence the followers, while the followers create their own influence on the leader. The collaboration and coordination between the leader and follower could be either positive or negative. According to Ding and Yu (2020), the equation of the relationship determines the success of the organisation. Both the sides need to trust each other, help and listen to each other, resolve problems together and find innovative solutions so that a positive bond is created. The leaders and followers share such a relationship that they need to coordinate and execute operations for successfully managing the organisational performance. The leader supervises and stimulates the jobs while the followers ensure proper implementation and execution.

There cannot be a leader without a follower and vice versa. Each organisation has persons who are effective not only at managing and monitoring the processes of the organisation but also executing and implementing them. Similarly, there are persons who are eligible and skilled at managing division of labour for each team member and are needed for delivering the successful outcome for the organisation. Thus, no one always holds the leadership position or the followership position. Each leader and follower has to take turns to lead or follow. It should be remembered while critically analysing the relationship between leader and follower that every leader had once been an effective follower (Norman et al, 2020). The difference between leaders and followers is that the former supervises, monitors and leads, while the latter follows and executes. However, the leaders and followers have certain common characteristics which include independence, full engagement, initiative, courage and activity. These characteristics unite the leader and the followers, developing a cohesive team which works with common goals.

Analysis of how leaders may influence organisational culture

In order to build an organizational culture, it is imperative to include leadership culture. In other words, a leadership culture is the procedure that shows the way leaders interact with each other along with their team members. It is the responsibility of leaders to comprehend their role in shaping culture of an organization. Leaders are known to have a tremendous influence on organizational culture as they set the agenda as well as lead and delegate work in a company. Paais and Pattiruhu(2020) stated that a strong leader provides a vision sense along with purpose and mentorship to those they lead. A diverse workforce at present has been reshaping what it targets to accomplish personal as well as professional success.A leader can influence organizational culture by being a role model by exemplifying the culture they are looking forward to preach without any exceptions. A leader should also perceive for insights by getting information about what is going on in the office in subtle details. An organizational culture can also be influencedby a leader through providing an open communication platform. The platform will help the employees to be heard and will also provide a way to reinforce the goals as well as values in the company. Empowering employees is also a best way to influence organizational culture where an autonomy culture provides for more problem solving as well as enhanced innovation. Khan et al. (2020) argued that although leaders influence as well as create organizational culture, they are also able to destroy it. In other words, a mismatch between a leader and a company always leads to a dispute. This mostly takes place when a company hires a leader who look great on paper like the ones who went to a particular popular school. But what is imperative to select such an individual who is qualified enough to be the right candidate for the company. A wrong individual in a companywill take decisions that will be contrary to the organization as well as detriment to the employees. On the other hand, if a leader is not empowering his leadership, then the organization might become paralyzed.

Role of Leader and Importance of Trust

The leader plays a very crucial role in an organisation. The leader organises the operations, guides and supervises the followers. In leadership, trust plays a very significant role. As per Danilwan, Isnaini and Pratama(2020), trust is like the glue which connects the leader with the followers. The leader has the potential to influence the followers by winning their trust and faith. The trust between the leader and follower fosters better organisational performance and leadership success. The foundation of effective leadership is developed through trust. The organisational credibility, fairness and respect across the workplace is facilitated through trust among followers and faith in their leaders. The followers may not agree to follow their leader if they do not trust him/her or the intentions or instructions. When the leader is able to build the trust of not only the followers but all the stakeholders, the organisational is expected to attain great success.

According to Khan, Mubarik and Islam(2021), a leader is one who guides, organises and manages work and people. The leaders are the visionaries who encourage and motivate the team members or followers to achieve their desired goals. The true meaning of leadership needs to be well understood by individuals who have the job of leading or guiding others. In leadership trust is important because it helps in creating the stable base for the employees as well as their organisation to adapt, flex and thrive even when the external and internal environment is subject to constant change. The changes are inevitable and so to make change management effective, the leaders need to first concentrate on gaining the trust of the stakeholders. There exists a close interconnectedness between trust and leadership. The workplace trust as opined by Qiu et al (2019), is the shared belief that the leaders are compassionate, committed and capable. As the employees develop the trust in their leader and his/her leadership, they eventually start anticipating that the leadership will decide and do what is best for the organisation and its employees. The employees and stakeholders also have expectations from their leaders as they invest their trust and faith in them. They expect the leader to be transparent in his/her actions and instructions. Most of the times, the hands of the employees are tied so it is the leader to has to execute certain operations. In such cases, the employees have their trust and expectations from their leader. For a leader, it is easier to motivate, encourage, influence and get the work done through the employees when the latter has the required trust in the former. Therefore, it can be said that leader and trust are two inseparable aspects of effective leadership.


It could be concluded that leader can influence organizational culture by turning into a role model by demonstrating the culture they are looking forward to discourse without any exemptions. The major focus has been provided on organizational culture as a key theory. It could be inferred that a leader cannot complete their work if the followers contradict to obey and act. The team work between leader and follower promotes the accomplishment of company goals. The leaders guide their team members towards the organisational goals, while the followers enact and accomplish. A leader should value their employees who will end up valuing their work. But a leader can also destroy work culture if a company hires a wrong one. The followers may not approve to follow their leader if they do not belief him/her or the purposes or instructions.


Danilwan, Y., Isnaini, D.B.Y. and Pratama, I., 2020. Psychological Contract Violation: A Bridge between Unethical Behavior and Trust. Systematic Reviews in Pharmacy, 11(7).

Ding, H. and Yu, E., 2020. Follower strengths-based leadership and follower innovative behavior: The roles of core self-evaluations and psychological well-being. Revista de Psicología del Trabajo y de lasOrganizaciones, 36(2), pp.103-110.

Khan, M.A., Ismail, F.B., Hussain, A. and Alghazali, B., 2020. The interplay of leadership styles, innovative work behavior, organizational culture, and organizational citizenship behavior. Sage Open, 10(1), p.2158244019898264.

Khan, M.M., Mubarik, M.S. and Islam, T., 2021. Leading the innovation: role of trust and job crafting as sequential mediators relating servant leadership and innovative work behavior. European Journal of Innovation Management, 24(5), pp.1547-1568.

Norman, S.M., Avey, J., Larson, M. and Hughes, L., 2020. The development of trust in virtual leader–follower relationships. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, 15(3), pp.279-295.

Paais, M. and Pattiruhu, J.R., 2020. Effect of motivation, leadership, and organizational culture on satisfaction and employee performance. The Journal of Asian Finance, Economics and Business, 7(8), pp.577-588.

Qiu, S., Alizadeh, A., Dooley, L.M. and Zhang, R., 2019. The effects of authentic leadership on trust in leaders, organizational citizenship behavior, and service quality in the Chinese hospitality industry. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 40, pp.77-87.

Torney, D., 2020. Follow the leader? Conceptualising the relationship between leaders and followers in polycentric climate governance. In Pioneers, Leaders and Followers in Multilevel and Polycentric Climate Governance (pp. 167-186). Routledge.


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