Presentation: Leadership and Followership in Startups

GFC LFS Lightening by Leah Sciabarrasi


This lightening talk presentation was given at the Global Followership Conference in 2024 in Glasgow, Scotland. It is a first glimpse of my research on leadership and followership in startups.Β 

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses, including startups, account for 44% of U.S. economic activity. Additionally, they are responsible for creating two-thirds of net new jobs in the United States. They present an entirely different context to examine both leadership and followership, particularly how leader-follower exchange evolves, as the startup evolves.Β 

Followership refers to the role and behaviors of individuals within a group or organization who align themselves with a leader and contribute to the achievement of common goals. While leadership often takes the spotlight, followership is an equally essential and dynamic component of any organizational structure. Followership is not a passive role; it involves active engagement, collaboration, and a sense of shared purpose. Successful organizations thrive when there is a balance between effective leadership and followership, with both roles contributing to the overall success and well-being of the group and organization.

There is currently a gap in the research about how leadership and followership evolve as startups evolve. This lightning talk will share preliminary research on how leadership and followership evolve as startups evolve. The information collected in this study will be used to publish the findings to fill this gap. This research will give startup founders useful insights on how employees grow into leadership and followership roles as startups evolve, along with practical tips for creating effective talent management processes.


Leah Sciabarrasi, Ph.D. | Higher Education Administrator & Consultant |