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12 Tips to Create Followership

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12 Tips to Create Followership

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Can you have a leader without any followers? No, followers fulfill the definition of leadership. Leaders need to have: goals, followers who actively support goal achievement, and followers who know how to take the right actions. The leader follower relationship is fulfilled when both are knowledgeable, open, caring, approachable, supportive, transparent in communication, committed to take the right actions, and authentic. Followership is defined as the willingness to cooperate in working toward the accomplishment of defined goals while demonstrating a high degree of interactive teamwork. Effective followers are active participants (partners) in creating and fulfilling the leadership process. Followers permit leaders to establish and keep themselves in control of a situation that is productive, efficient, goal oriented, and people-oriented. Once during an interview, I was asked if leadership is measurable. I said yes, leaders can turn around to see if anyone is following, goals are achieved, and people are energized.

Can you have a leader without any followers? No, followers fulfill the definition of leadership. Leaders need to have: goals, followers who actively support goal achievement, and followers who know how to take the right actions. The leader follower relationship is fulfilled when both are knowledgeable, open, caring, approachable, supportive, transparent in communication, committed to take the right actions, and authentic. Followership is defined as the willingness to cooperate in working toward the accomplishment of defined goals while demonstrating a high degree of interactive teamwork. Effective followers are active participants (partners) in creating and fulfilling the leadership process. Followers permit leaders to establish and keep themselves in control of a situation that is productive, efficient, goal oriented, and people-oriented. Once during an interview, I was asked if leadership is measurable. I said yes, leaders can turn around to see if anyone is following, goals are achieved, and people are energized.

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12 Tips to Create Followership

  1. 1. 12 Tips to Create Followership (The Art of Supporting Leaders) Rex Gatto Ph.D., BCC Can you have a leader without any followers? No, followers fulfill the definition of leadership. Leaders need to have: goals, followers who actively support goal achievement, and followers who know how to take the right actions. The leader follower relationship is fulfilled when both are knowledgeable, open, caring, approachable, supportive, transparent in communication, committed to take the right actions, and authentic. Followership is defined as the willingness to cooperate in working toward the accomplishment of defined goals while demonstrating a high degree of interactive teamwork. Effective followers are active participants (partners) in creating and fulfilling the leadership process. Followers permit leaders to establish and keep themselves in control of a situation that is productive, efficient, goal oriented, and people-oriented. Once during an interview, I was asked if leadership is measurable. I said yes, leaders can turn around to see if anyone is following, goals are achieved, and people are energized. Followership is a partnering process by which leaders and followers develop an environment that is result oriented. Here are twelve steps to adhere to so that you are following in the right way: 1. Accepting and challenging the expectations by the leader and the acceptance to fulfill those expectations creates a partnership for success. Followers are not yes people or accommodators; they are people with a commitment to challenge the status quo to drive success. 2. Hardworking followers support hardworking leaders, hardworking leaders support hardworking followers to do what is right. Leaders give followers the necessary support, resources, financing, confidence and coaching to help them achieve the yet unachieved. Hardworking leaders are role models for followers who understand what followers are going through to achieve the prioritized goals. Hardworking followers are savvy enough to get it.
  2. 2. 3. Showing initiative, is necessary. Followers need to take the initiative to take action, to demonstrate commitment, the desire and abilities needed to achieve the goals, and show support for the leader. Followers, while in support of the leader, are independent people who know when to emerge as a leader. Leaders are savvy enough to know when to let followers emerge as leaders because they have taken the initiative. 4. Giving feedback/updates. Feedback or feed-forward information needs to go up and down. Followers need to know when to give leaders feedback. Leaders need to be smart enough to know when a follower, focused on results, informs the leader about his/her performance. The leader needs to be a role model for accepting feed-forward information that will help him/her grow and develop. This in turn helps the follower realize how to accept feedback from the leader. The leader who accepts feedback (feed-forward) from followers supports followers in accepting and growing as a follower. 5. Taking ownership, accountability is the cornerstone to success and fulfillment of the follower’s talents and abilities. The accountable follower is continually measuring performance and taking actions in support of the leader and goal achievement. By doing so, the follower continues to emerge as a knowledgeable performer. 6. Building trust is the glue that holds the follower leader relationship together. Without trust there is no partnership for success between the follower and leader. Trust creates a reliability between the two that strengthens the bond between them. 7. Achieving goals, creating the expectation and priorities, and turning the follower loose to take the right actions needed to achieve the goals create followers. Without the clarity of goals, the followership process is meaningless. When the goals are not clear, the stage is set for blame and missed opportunities. Generally, taking daily actions without clarity of directions leads to missteps. It is imperative for the follower to take the initiative to talk with the leader. 8. Demonstrating Productivity i.e., positive energy, leads to positive attitude and a personal development and growth through success. Success breeds motivation in a follower, and a motivated follower wants to succeed and fulfill expectations. Knowledgeable followers need to be given the empowerment to succeed to the level of capability and effort. 9. Going beyond what is needed, and the initiative to move toward the uncomfortable is a way to create personal growth and experience personal development. Creativity is looking at a situation and thinking in new or novel ways to achieve what is needed. Going beyond what is needed is a demonstration of taking charge of the situation to the extent a follow can. 10. Being enthusiastic (excited right attitude) is showing the passion and interest to achieve the goal and showing how capable the follower is in fulfilling job expectations. This is a way for the follower to show interest in his/her job and to learn and grow. 11. Being a team player (loyal, reliable, and accountable): a team is people working together to achieve a common agreed to goal. The leader and follower both must demand loyalty. Loyalty
  3. 3. creates the symbiotic relationship between the two that supports the entire relationship of leader and follower. 12. As influential partners, followers are capable communicators who help leaders grow by influencing leaders to listen about the workplace situation. In turn leaders adopt the ideas of the followers because they have been influenced. The influential follower can create a changing work environment: through the interactive exchange around the leader’s abilities and skills, and the followers’ abilities and skills. Great leaders have always surrounded themself with followers who told them the truth and expanded their thinking in an influential manner. Summary: Followers are capable people who work in partnership with leaders. They support the organization and should continually look for opportunities to show interest in goal achievement that gives pleasure to them. It means having an active and motivated attitude and building self- confidence and growth. Followers demonstrate a good attitude and get satisfaction from achieving things in partnership with the leader. Simply put, a Follower is: · A supporter · Someone who has been influenced by a leader and can influence the leader · A direct or indirect report to a leader · Someone who has identified a leader as a role model to be followed · An active participant in self-discovery and growth Rex Gatto Ph.D., BCC President Gatto Associates LLC. 412 344-2277 (Office) www.rexgatto.com rex@rexgatto.com

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