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Leadership: Leaders, Followers, Environments by Art Padilla

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Empowering followers

Another approach to prevent or solve the problem is to focus on followers. Different types of followers require different treatments. Consider the two types of susceptible followers discussed above—conformers and colluders.115 Conformers passively allow leaders to engage in destructive leadership by virtue of their unmet needs, negative core self-evaluations, and immaturity. Conversely, because colluders ambitiously desire to promote themselves and pursue their selfish goals, they often conspire with destructive leaders. Intervention for the colluders should follow the same prescriptions as for the leaders noted in the previous section.

Intervention for the conformers requires a different approach. The several dozen corporate scandals during the last decade suggest possible solutions. Many of these toxic situations have been uncovered by whistle-blowers. Internal reporting of organizational wrongdoing is the most common type of initial whistle-blowing.116 Unfortunately, such reports often arrive too late to prevent much of the damage. Investors have lost money, employees have lost jobs, and retirement funds have disappeared, and public confidence in large corporations is shaken. However, strengthening the organization's culture might empower conformers to engage in whistle-blowing or other preventative behavior.

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