Leadership Role #4: Building Followership
Leaders require followers who are committed to achieving the mission – ideally people who believe in both the vision and the leader and who want to be there. To create such a devoted followership, leaders must remember that they are also followers – not only in the sense of supporting others’ missions but also through subordinating their own interests for the sake of serving their teams and organizations.
We live in an era when downsizing, increased work hours, ceaseless pressure for higher profits, internal competitiveness, and similarly unpleasant factors have produced a toxic brew of resentment, resistance to change, and self-serving political maneuvering on the part of workers at all levels, and the cost is significant. Projects are abandoned or fail to achieve their objectives; employees are unwilling to embrace changes in business culture; self-interest takes precedence over the best interests of the organization as a whole; and so forth. This trend can only be reversed when leaders take their responsibility to serve those who support them seriously.
One area of particular importance is career. Organizations provide a framework of stability for their employees. Thus, great leaders create environments in which ambition naturally arises and flourishes. There are several ways to do this:
1. Declare vision that constitutes a game worth playing – one that inspires people to rally around it and makes them feel as though their contributions to the overall mission somehow make the world better.
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About the Author
Chris Majer, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Human Potential Project, is the author of The Power to Transform: Passion, Power, and Purpose in Daily Life (Rodale), which teaches the strategies corporate, military, and sports leaders have used to positively transform themselves and their organizations in a way readers can adept to their own lives and professions. He may be reached at www.humanpotentialproject.com.
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