“Followers,” Lead Thyselves

In the March edition of her email newsletter High-Per Hints, Ellyn Traub considers the impact “followers” have on leadership within an organization. FC Now readers have challenged the notion of followers within companies before, but Traub offers some interesting ideas.

Citing Ira Chaleff, she outlines some of the responsibilities of followers:

  • Understand your power and how to use it.
  • Appreciate the value of the leader and the contributions he or she makes to forward the organization’s mission.
  • Work toward minimizing the pitfalls of power by helping your leader to remain on track for the long-term common good.

She also expands on the qualities of successful followers:

  • Think For Themselves: By managing yourself you inspire confidence and trust. Develop emotional intelligence; learn to regulate split-second emotions of anger and anxiety and allow for more appropriate and logical interactions.
  • Develop Their Professional Equity: Develop and take action on a plan of life long learning. Continually update your skills, your networks and seek out extra work and responsibilities.
  • Stay True To Their Code of Ethics: You will run into situations that fall into those areas of gray where working towards the goals of the organization may be misaligned with your personal values. You have choices.
  • Take Risks: Taking risks means that you will make mistakes- admit to them and learn from them. Leaders need and want honest and candid feedback. At first it may not be well received, but eventually you will be the one they turn to for that feedback.

Huh, suddenly, followers start to look like leaders! Useful ideas to think about when working with colleagues, partners, and customers.