Winning at Following
Secrets to Success in Supporting Roles
by J. Norman Baldwin
March 2017, 202pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-5314-2
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5315-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Some of the most fulfilling roles in corporate life—and some of the most lucrative—involve followership in some capacity.

Replete with engaging stories and written in a down-to-earth style, this book provides the first and only road map for finding success and happiness in life's most common yet underrated role—that of the follower.

What kinds of behaviors and responses do most bosses want from those they lead? Which jobs seem desirable and exciting but present work conditions in which followers are likely to fail or be unhappy? What’s the best way to communicate bad and good news to a superior? Winning at Following: Secrets to Success in Supporting Roles answers these questions and covers many more topics that are highly relevant to everyone, for those who report to others as well as for managers, directors, CEOs, or other acting leaders. Individuals who are satisfied in their roles as followers will discover information that helps them to optimize their success and fulfillment at work, while dissatisfied followers—anyone struggling as a follower and searching for directions for positive change—will find this book extremely valuable as a road map to greater meaning, success, and satisfaction at work and in life.

Readers will gain the critical direction and tools for fulfillment in their roles as followers—in whatever capacity that may be—and understand what they need to do to please their superiors as well as to solve the common problems and challenges that followers face. The book also explains how individuals can identify their followership style and discover the types of organizations where they are most likely to thrive. The final chapter provides guidance on how to overcome common, serious problems that followers experience, such as micromanaging bosses, sexual harassment, unethical directives from superiors, and disrespectful colleagues.


  • Provides invaluable advice and direction that applies to everyone, regardless of position in an organization's hierarchy, because everyone is a follower in at least one role in his or her life
  • Identifies the ideal qualities and behaviors of followers based on a comprehensive review of the research on followership and spotlights what to look for in jobs in order to maximize job satisfaction
  • Examines what are likely to be the best and worst jobs for followers in terms of their sense of satisfaction and fulfillment in that occupation
J. Norman Baldwin is professor of political science at the University of Alabama (UA), where he has served as director of Graduate Programs, Undergraduate Programs, and the Master of Public Administration Program. He teaches courses on how to organize and manage employees in public service and conducts research on followership, diversifying organizations, whistle-blowing, economic development, and differences between public and private organizations. Arguably UA's most highly honored faculty member of the 21st century, Baldwin is the recipient of the Morris Mayer Award, Buford Peace Award, Other Club Person of the Year Award, Outstanding Commitment to Students Award, Service Project of the Year Award, and the Samuel S. May Award. Outside of work, he performs the lead vocal in a band and supports the low-income lobby group Alabama Arise, Amnesty International, the International Justice Mission, Refugees International, the Children's Hunger Fund, and the Center for Victims Against Torture.


"Most chapters include personal anecdotes more or less related to the topics to engage readers and keep their interest. Written in a conversational style, Baldwin’s book is accessible to all. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through faculty."—Choice, October 1, 2017

“This book is a ‘must-read’ for followers and leaders. Norm Baldwin captures the traits of followers that are necessary for the success of any organization, and he unlocks the secrets to finding joy and meaning in following.”—Sue Bell Cobb, First female Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court

Winning at Following provides priceless instruction on how to be a phenomenal follower and how to achieve unparalleled satisfaction working in this vital role. Norman Baldwin skillfully confirms the understated axiom that great leaders are enhanced and sustained by great followers.”—Vincent J. Dooley, Former Head Football Coach and Athletic Director at The University of Georgia

“Dr. J. Norman Baldwin abandons the academic ivory tower to connect with followers through stories that touch the heart and, above all, provide meaningful and memorable illustrations of how to succeed as a follower.”—Judy Bonner, Provost and Executive Vice President, Mississippi State University, and first female president of The University of Alabama
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