If leadership can be seen as the art of federating a team around a big picture, setting common goals, creating a work atmosphere that fosters collaboration and eases the road to results and success; Follower-ship can also be seen as the ability to work in synergy and synchronicity with the leader and other followers that aim at attaining common goals and objectives. With this understanding, how then can we as leaders, work to create an effective and efficient Leader-Follower relation?
1 – Become a connective leader who creates a bond between him and his followers and in-between the followers themselves.
Connective leaders share the Big picture with the followers, make them became parts and parcels of the group’s constructive vision. They identify themselves in the team’s common purpose and make them consider follower-ship as a shifting role for which they become wiling learners.
2 – Taking inspiration from Rudyard Kipling’s quotes in “The Book of the Jungle”, which says;
The Strongest Wolf of the Jungle is the Wolf that never should die … for the strength of the Wolf is the Pack, and the strength of the Pack is the Wolf. As leaders, visualize yourself as the Wolf who has to keep the pack prosper. Still as a leader, visualize the Pack as your set of followers and think about the combined relationship that you (as the wolf) and them as the pack. None of the 2 sets can make their way alone in the jungle alone as both have to rely on each other to survive the longest.
In modern management, outstanding leaders rely on their team members who are effective and efficient followers. They are cautious of what they have to do, the importance of their role, what is been expected from them, etc. This might come along with some inches along the line, which is what will lead us to the next concept.
3 – The biggest thing to do as a leader is to always believe in your team of effective followers.
That might be demonstrated in the moments when they do not perform well, show them that you believe they are better than that and they can prove and show it. Do not scare them with warnings and intimidation, help them realize their potential, be patient, accept to fail with them (do not dissociate yourself from their failures, make them fill its collective), progressively empower them, coach them, motivate them. This helps build trust.
4 – Design your team strategically.
Make sure you select the right members if possible for you, if not possible, make sure you realign the follower to be in the right position. Put him in the place where he feels more at ease to perform to his “highest”. Encourage them to take unofficial and spontaneous leads on little initiatives, share part of your leadership with them. The end result in this step is to help create a community where everyone has the sense of belonging and attachment to people with whom they share common values and purpose.
5 – Lastly celebrate them, celebrate their results.
This helps to create an effective follower-ship culture and environment where people feel at ease in their shifting position and for which they are not afraid to take responsibilities without been obliged to be looked upon as “leaders” but rather as “effective followers” on whom everybody is likely and whiling to rely on. Effective followers love to be perceived, as worth trusting people.
Remember, for the Leader-Follower relationship to be best effective for the interest of the team, we need to develop the spirit of love. A Yoruba (a Nigerian ethnic group) proverb says; “People give you their hands only after you have given them your heart.”
P.Jackson says; “Love is the force that ignites the spirit and binds the team together”
Be people who encourage and create a good leader-follower relationship where each and every one is happy to lead in his own way and contributing to team results.
We hope this article will be of help to you. Drop a comment below to tell us how it helped you. Remember, your success is our happiness and helping you is our passion.
Lots of love
Rinelle & Paul