By definition every leader has followers. And as many of my mentors say, “A person leading without followers is just out taking a walk.”
But what about the follower? What is their responsibility? As leaders we too are followers so let’s examine 3 characteristics of what a great follower looks like:
1) We are raving fan in public
At all times we publicly support our leader with our peers and with our staff to help fulfill the goals we have committed to and use our influence to strengthen the followership of the leader. Doing so maintains alignment to the mission and builds trust among team members. While we speak candidly with our leader in private to ensure all points of view are heard, once the decision has been made, we must decide to follow. This can be hard for us when we would do things differently.
Truthfully, if we want to be the leader that others choose to follow, we need to practice being a great follower first.
2) We become a megaphone
We take the leader’s message and share the direction with people who haven’t heard it to ensure the message is clearly understood. Not only do we amplify the message, but we also strengthen it by using our skills to relay it to the people groups we have influence and trust. It is our responsibility to help others understand and support the direction by spreading the ideas to people difficult for the leader themselves to reach.
3) We fill gaps
No leader is perfect. Big surprise there! That is why we need great followers to help us fill our gaps; strengthening places where we are not so strong. I assert that great followers do this for their leaders. This means we chose support over criticism, see opportunity when problems are encountered, and commit to being the follower we want others to be when they follow us,
Question to ponder: What do we need to do today to support our leader?