The leader-follower relationship is an exciting one most especially when mutual trust and benefits exist between each other. In my previous article, I wrote on “what every follower wants in a leader”. It is also interesting to know that there are “what every leader wants in a follower”. Both the leader and follower need support from each other in order to achieve a lasting success. Leadership is not a one sided thing. As the saying goes, “it takes two to tangle”. That means success in leadership is not only dependent upon the leader but also on great followers. Naturally, it’s the duty of the leader to show direction, courage, care, empower, cast the vision, show the example, and thus, take the lead by being at the hot seat. It is also the duty of the followers to reciprocate in certain ways that keep the leader energized to do more.
The followers will get the best of the leader to the extent they are willing to support in the shared vision. There is an adage in Africa which says, “My front and my back view can never meet because they are forever in the opposite directions”. In the same vein, no leader can co-exist with followers who walk in opposite direction to the common vision the leader wants to achieve. A leader will go all out in enthusiasm and passion when there is a formidable team of followers in support of the cause. Leaders cannot work with detractors. Much as the leader is the ultimate encourager and motivator, they also need encouraging followers who will support them in giving more of themselves to serve the followers. Therefore, below are certain things every leader wants from their followers:
Visionary followers: The leader knows that success without a successor is a failure in leadership. Therefore, the goal of every good leader is to empower his followers to become leaders. This he does by initiating and inculcating the common vision in them. And it’s the leaders’ desire to see the followers living to its expectations towards realizing the common vision. Thus, the visionary followers who have imbibed in themselves the vision of the leader do not drive on nothing. I call them “visiondrivers” because they drive and run with the vision. They see the future and work in line with the leader to achieve the desired goal. A visionary follower understands that vision is the crystal clear mental picture of the future. And the ability to see the future is vision in motion. And walking on that path of vision is what makes him or her, a visiondriver, which every leader love to see in a follower. It is the utmost heart desire of every leader to be surrounded by followers who discern, understand, catch the vision, run with it, and then, help bring it to pass.
Taking responsibility: As a follower, you are responsible for your own choices, actions and decisions that you make. Leadership begins with you before others; meaning until you have successfully lead yourself well, you can’t lead others. The fact remains that you cannot lead yourself well without taking responsibility. And taking personal responsibility is not just a one-off thing but a lifestyle that must be practiced daily. More often than not, we find ourselves in a web of shifting responsibility or blaming others for our shortcomings. Leaders want to work with followers who can own up their mistakes and apologize when they are wrong. It grieves leaders when they have followers who points fingers to others as cause of the problem rather than them taking responsibility to put things in order. Taking personal responsibility is a mark of maturity; it’s not only the right to do but also a gateway to success in life.
Change Initiators: Leaders want to work with followers who initiate and embrace change. It is absolutely necessary as followers to understand that, there is only one universal constant, and that is change. The truth about change is that if you are not “changing” you are “dying”. Presently, no employer is ready to hire an employee who has no computer knowledge in an era where the world has become a global village through the internet. No wonder many are getting laid off from their jobs because most organizations don’t see any need to keep them. In the same vein, today’s leaders want to work with followers who not only embrace change but are “changemakers” themselves. Remember, if you are not changing, the change will overtake you and render you obsolete.
See you at the TOP!
Dr. Elvis UKPAKA
Author. Trainer. Coach. Consultant
Lead Consultant, Visiondrivers Mgt. Consulting
+234 810 654 5127, +234 817 123 5284