Spiritual Followership: Emerging Conceptualizations

  • Joanna Elizabeth CrossmanEmail author
  • Brian Crossman
Reference work entry


To truly understand spiritual followership, a broad appreciation of prerequisite theories of leadership and followership is necessary. Layer upon layer, spiritual followership emerges from the conceptual and empirical work that preceded it. Spiritual followership is not simply the “flip side” of spiritual leadership, but lays claim to its own unique assumptions. The authors construct a definition of spiritual followership and suggest why doing so has proven so challenging, hitherto. Spiritual followership functions as a process, most notably operating in its teaching and learning relationship with leadership. The spiritual follower is emancipated, empowered, and courageous. Despite espousing a number of positive and spiritual values, the spiritual follower is not romanticized as a perfect example of humanity, but one who struggles, as others do, in juggling loyalty with maintaining a work-life balance or resisting unethical and unwise leader decisions. He or she is nevertheless armed with certain approaches and beliefs, and a critical disposition to question, regardless of any imbalance of power in the leader-follower relationship. The chapter concludes that educational providers and workplaces would benefit from developing the skills, values, and perspectives of followership and, specifically, spiritual followership.


Leadership Followership Spiritual leadership Spiritual followership 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International College of Management (ICMS)SydneyAustralia
  2. 2.University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

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