Today we have a guest post from Lauren Smythe who works with College City as an online instructor. She also works as a consultant teaching team skills for small and mid-sized companies.
Are There Any Followers Left?
I am a follower. There are not many of us. It seems everyone wants to be a leader. Whom will you lead if there are no followers? As a follower, I believe I have some expertise in defining the kind of person I prefer to follow. These are just a few of the characteristics I look for when I am trying to find someone worth following.
- I want a leader to lead by example. I do not like people who delegate all the work and disappear. We are supposed to be a team. If we are all in this together, I want my leader to be there, as well. A manager is not the same thing as a leader. A manager manages. A leader leads.
- If you lead, I will follow. If you do not know where you are going, neither will I. A leader has to have vision, a plan and the ability to communicate both. I like to think I am going somewhere when I follow someone.
- I want a leader I can trust. It is impossible to have confidence in someone who does not feel the need to earn my trust. I can forgive a mistake, but I cannot forgive or forget a lie.
- I want my share of the reward for the effort I put forth. As my leader, that means I would appreciate your appreciation. Let me know you are happy to have me on your team. Tell me I am doing a good job if I am. I need your feedback, so I can improve my performance. I do not mind your letting me know when I am not doing what you need, but I want you to let me know you have faith in me and believe in my ability to do what you are asking of me.
- Treat me and all team members the same. We are all part of the team. We should respect each other. That is only possible if you respect all members of the team. We will work better together when we know we do not have to compete for your approval.
- Ask for my help. I want to be there for you, but I cannot if you do not make the request. I want the team to succeed, so I want to do what you ask of me.
- Admit your mistakes. We are all human. If something happened, it will not be a problem. If you do not let me know, I will feel you do not trust me. You need to earn my trust just as I need and want to earn yours.
If you are a good leader, you have every right to feel confident. When you have confidence in yourself, it is easier for me to have confidence in you. Someday I, too, may be a leader. I will learn what I need to know from you.
Lauren Smythe works with College City as an online instructor. She also works as a consultant teaching team skills for small and mid-sized companies.