There are countless articles written on how to be a better leader. People want to be better leaders for their team, organization or company. We want to grow leaders and create new leaders. What about those who follow? How can we grow better followers? Leaders and followers have very similar characteristics. Grow in one and you grow in the other. Here are 3 ways you can be an effective follower that might just make you a leader among followers.
- Take initiative. Be that person that sees an issue and fixes it. Don’t overlook issues even when it’s not your responsibility. It may not be your area of expertise, but you can be the catalyst that gets it resolved. Don’t wait for someone to give you orders. Know your boundaries and execute everything you can in that area, but make sure you’re results are great quality. Chances are you’ll stand out as a productive team member, which may lead to great opportunities. Take control and get things done, don’t wait around.
- Lend your assistance. Be the follower that doesn’t just receive orders, but the follower that gives assistance as well. Nothing would be more pleasing to your leader as you asking others if they need assistance. As a leader, you want to see this among your followers. This shows teamwork. At my last Air Force base, we had a slogan in the Junior Enlisted Tier Council, “Airman helping Airman. “ This is like saying, “followers helping followers.” Ask frequently if others need a helping hand.
- Listen well. Be a great listener. Followers must possess superb listening skills. This is crucial to getting things done without confusion and without having others repeat what’s already been said. When you’re a great listener you are able to focus on the goal and not worry about if you’re doing things incorrectly. Listen to those around you and not just your leader. Share knowledge and always be open to feedback. Listening develops you into a great communicator.
For the movie enthusiasts…Do you remember the movie Drumline staring Nick Canon and Orlando Jones? In the movie, Orlando Jones says this…
“You must learn to follow before you can lead.”
Perhaps improving your followership skills is key to becoming a great leader.