You want followership? – How about earning it first?

In hierarchical systems having people follow you if you’re the leader is an occupational hazard.  It just happens.  Your position lends you authority, independent of your own personal capability as a leader, so you can take the followership of your people as a given.

Wasn’t that nice, while it lasted?  However, those times are long gone.  This Century you – and your ability as a leader – are under much closer scrutiny.  If I am one of your people, you have to earn my trust and belief in you as a leader, before I will follow you anywhere – let alone engage proactively in moving your business towards long term competitive edge…

So what do you think of that?  Good news or bad news?  News at all?  You always knew it, maybe?  Or have known it for a while?

Let’s ask a better question.  What does that mean for you as the leader of your organisation?  How can you create a climate and company culture that fosters the followership you need?  What do you need to do differently to engage me on such an intimate level?

Intimate feels too strong a word?

Let’s clarify then:  involving me on an emotional as well as intellectual level, providing me with enough support, challenge and fun (yes, you heard that right) for me to carry out my role and responsibilities with enthusiasm and energy because I feel engaged and understand where I fit in the future of the business. In short: earning my followership.

How many of your people feel like that about you and your leadership at the moment?  How do you know?  When have you last asked them how they feel about your leadership?  Do you want to know?

If yes – you’re on the way to becoming the leader you need to be to create loyal followership.

If no – well, never mind, you probably won’t be at the helm of an enterprise for that much longer.

Author: Nicole Bachmann