Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Be the Person Others Choose to Follow

Good leaders are hard to find. Good leaders exhibit a blend of charisma, vision and character traits that attract people to follow them. And, leaders recognize the need to attract followers.

Developing a followership is a fundamental key to leadership. But, to follow, people must feel that they have confidence in the direction in which the leader is headed. The follower must be enabled and empowered to do their part in accomplishing the stated goals.

Also, people follow leaders that are accountable and trustworthy. If progress towards accomplishing the goals ceases, or is out of balance, the leader must take responsibility to analyze the problem. Followers will have confidence in their leader and that their efforts won't be punished if the leader is accountable and does not blame anyone for the problem.

Followers need to believe, that at the end of the project or journey, they will be recognized and rewarded for their contribution. The leader must help the followers answer the question, "What's in it for me?" Successful leaders are honest about the potential risks they are incurring in the chosen path to the goal. They will communicate, not just the overall direction, but any information followers need to successfully, skillfully and efficiently carry out their responsibilities.

Occasionally the leader and the owner of the business, CEO or president or department head are the same person. Leadership qualities combined with positional power magnify the individual's ability to attract followers. Longevity also plays a role in in attracting and retaining followers. People who have followed leaders for long periods of time will continue to follow unless they lose trust in the leader's direction and abilities.

By increasing your awareness of what attracts followers and how to retain them you can become the person that others will gladly choose to follow.

Copyright M. A. Webb, 2005. All Rights Reserved.

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