#192 – Followers and Leadership

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!