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Three tactics a leader can use to acquire great followers

, December 14, 2012, 0 Comments

Leaders know exactly what they want and go after it. If you motivate, communicate, influence and are doing the right thing, you will get yourself some great followers. A follower to a leader is like a foundation to a building. Only when the foundation is strong and well-developed can you build a beautiful building!

Last week we discussed important characteristics of a great follower and the need to become a great follower as an important prerequisite to becoming a great leader.

From the follower’s perspective, he/she is being a great follower to the leader by being loyal, humble, obedient and goal oriented [i]. The follower could have a wish to fast track his/her career and eventually move into the leader’s position when the leader moves on.

This week, let’s discuss ‘followership’ from a leader’s perspective. I want to confirm a simple rule “Developing great followers is a leader’s responsibility”…I think you know this already!

Followership – what leaders can do:

Each person in the organization follows someone and when you truly “follow” your leader, you are loyal, behave like the leader and want to become like the leader. How do you learn from the leader? A great leader shows you how. When you want great followers you teach.

When you are the boss of someone there is someone looking up to you, like you look up to your boss. There are some techniques to becoming and being a leader to a follower.

Ever worked or are you working for an unkind, unethical or uncommunicative boss, who never hears you, helps you move forward in your career or supports your ambition?…you never did or don’t ever want to follow them right? Don’t be or become that boss.

I suggest here three tactics a leader can use when developing great followers:

  1. Communicating– Let people know exactly what you want. Be clear, concise and honest. If you ever had a boss who confused you or didn’t tell you everything you needed to know to get the job done, think of what you expected and communicate it now as a leader. Your followers want to hear the same thing!
  2. Listening– You have heard it before… “Communication is a two way street”. You talk, and then LISTEN to what the other person has to say. You listen when you have given the other person an opportunity to communicate and share. When people have grievances, solve them if you can and when they share a great idea, embrace and use it. Give people an opportunity to express themselves and to be heard.
  3. Behaving– Do what you want your followers to do. If you want team members to be on time for meetings then you should be there to attend on time, if you value ethical behavior, stop printing personal stuff using the office printer. People will take a cue from your behavior.

The tactics suggested above are neither new nor rocket science. They are simple. But these tactics often get forgotten. You cannot afford to forget them or dismiss them when you want everyone to join you on the journey to achieving organizational objectives.

What are the tactics you follow as a leader? What will make you follow your leader?






About author
Aarti Iyer is a Sydneysider who originally hails from Mumbai, India. She has a Masters Degree in Human Resources Management from the University of Sydney,speaks fluent French and is currently working towards her doctorate in Leadership. She is passionate about writing and author of the book “The Story of a Girl, 60Seconds That Changed Life." Her family gives meaning to her life and when not writing or studying; she enjoys travelling and spending time with her husband and young daughter. Aarti shares her experiences in her weblog FlyingBubbles. ...more