After the Labor Day holiday, it seems particularly apropos to consider the subject of followers and their relationship to leaders. Although the word “follower” could be interpreted to mean a passive acquiescence to strong direction from an authoritative leader, that does not accurately describe the people I work with daily. My work is often with the leaders of organizations, but it is also with other employees as well. The employees/workers/followers that I know are involved, assertive, engaged and active. Leadership is a dynamic process. Without other people, leadership would be moot. It would have no practical significance.
Food for Thought ~
Just as leadership requires skill and effort, so does being a good, or better yet, a great follower. Leaders are at their best when the people they lead provide feedback, information, ideas, suggestions and yes, even constructive criticism. Workers/employees/followers are a necessary part of the equation. Most of us are both leaders and followers. We may have a leadership role in one organization, and be followers in others, as we participate in a variety of settings and roles. The bottom line: leadership is too important to leave to the leaders alone.
Question for the day ~
Are the employees/workers/followers in your organization skilled at their job as followers? As a leader, do you coach, mentor, and provide training so that everyone in the organization is able to effectively contribute to the leadership process?
Follow-up on Observation ~
Last week I wrote about the subtle skill of observation. I would love to hear from those of you who perhaps gave it a try and conducted “an experiment” with a dedicated effort to be an observer. I’m eager to hear what you learned!