Becoming a Great Follower
There's always so much talk on leadership development but rarely any resources on how to be an excellent follower. After all, who are the leaders leading? Having been in both positions, I'd like to give some tips on how to follow with intelligence, interest and follow through. Without further ado, here are five points on becoming a follower your leader wants and needs. This is applicable in almost any setting.
Following the leaders you've chosen to follow
1. You don't have to agree 100% before you follow. Remember, everything doesn't have to fit your perspective before you follow your leader. I know many will have a hard time with this one. But if you've ever lead a group of people, each one of them is unique and will have differing perspectives. It's impossible to satisfy every one of their viewpoints and get things done, simultaneously. As a follower, disagree appropriately but commit. If you do so, you make more room for yourself at the negotiating table, in the future.
2. Champion the cause of the leaders you've chosen to follow. Once you disagree and commit, take it to the next level; champion the cause of your leader like it was your own! Your leader(s) will feel the support and cherish you! It also communicates to the rest of the team and onlookers that there is a united front and true harmony.
3. Complaints should come with solutions that fit the leader's vision. Complaining is just annoying. Everyone is capable of thinking on how to fix issues. It's best to make sure that vent sessions are few and far between. As a follower, think of the team and the leader and come with solutions that help achieve the goals at hand. Discord helps no one. In my experience, those who do not create solutions for problems don't last long on teams.
4. Leaders need specific encouragement. "Good job," isn't specific! When's the last time you gave genuine encouragement to a leader? Most people think leaders get encouragement all the time, from others. Because most people ascribe to this thinking, leaders actually don't receive the encouragement they need and deserve. Do or say something encouraging to your leader that let's them know that you are watching and care.
5. Refrain from: gossip, slander, or unhelpful talk about your leader. It's hard enough to be a leader...it's harder when people are gossiping, talking negatively or plotting behind your back. Speak those words of life that are helpful and transformative not hateful and demeaning! The greatest compliment that I've ever received was, "Tolu, I've never heard you say a negative word about anyone." I will always cherish that and so will my leaders.
No need for a long conclusion. Are you an excellent life-giving follower?