Today, a search on Amazon.com showed 98,516 results for “leadership”. A further search for “followship” came back with a mere 39 results. I searched again for “team player” and received over 101,000 results, although “team player” wasn’t quite what I was looking for. I know sometimes part of great leadership is setting out what you expect and need from your followers, and “followship” is a little used word, but the yawning gap between the results surprised even me.
You may be a leader or a follower or both. As a leader do you ever think we are disproportionately focused on your behaviours, skills and values? As a follower, do you ever think about what your leader might require from you? As a leader, do you take time out to articulate what you need from your followers? And I’m not talking about job specification or role here.
I guess some leaders would say they need different things from the people who work for them and industry differences would drive some of the skills, characteristics and behaviours of followers. When you consider different dynamics across millions of organisations, it’s a sure bet if people decided to write about followship with any enthusiasm, you would end up with considerably more books than those written on leadership.
As a leader I am sure you will either consciously or unconsciously know what you require of your followers, over and above their job role. But do you articulate those wants, or do you get frustrated because your followers don’t actually follow very well? If you are a follower, do you know what your leader expects of you, and if not would you like to know?
As a leader and manager, and a follower, and subsequently a coach for leaders and managers, I have over the years, experienced and listened to many views and opinions from leaders about their teams and what does and doesn’t work. As a follower, I have consciously tried to support my leader and have sometimes found continuous support challenging.
As a starter for 10, I’ve brought together the main points gathered over the years and the following describes what I believe leaders commonly want from their followers.
As a follower involved in my leadership I need you to:
Do you think it’s reasonable for a leader to expect certain behaviours and attitudes from their followers? Do you think employers have a right to state so explicitly what they want and need from their staff? Either comment below, or contact me Christina@peoplediscovery.co.uk
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