"He, who cannot be a good follower, cannot be a good leader."
From a very tender age, we are told how we should strive to become leaders of the future. The leaders are idolized and without us noticing it, this one position becomes our dream and aspiration. During our journey to adulthood, we must have come across hundreds of articles, dedicated to the vigorous and inspiring personalities, labeled as ‘leaders.’ How many of you have read any piece of literature that glorified people, called, the followers? Not many, right! So, does it mean that the organizations or institutions are solely run by the people working as the heads? Where do the followers stand?
You must have noticed that many of us often recognize or value the contribution or role of the leaders. Usually, the importance or existence of followers goes unnoticed in many organizations. There is no denying that the leaders must be given due respect and importance, but the followers and their attempts should also not go unnoticed and unacknowledged. There are times when searching for a better leader, we tend to lose the track of people that these leaders will lead. We must not forget that without his armies, even the great Alexander also was just a man with bold ambitions. Organizations stand or fall partly on the basis of how well their leaders lead and how well their followers follow.
As rightly said by Israelmore Ayivor, “Every true leader is a true follower. Every true follower is a true leader. You are followed because of the dreams you pursue; you pursue others because of the dreams they follow!”
Let’s talk about the followers today. It’s a proven fact that effective followers can increase the workplace's productivity, boost employee morale and benefit the workplace in many other ways. Effective followers are members of a team, who work under a leader to contribute to the team and organizational goals. According to Robert Kelly, “Effective followers work to achieve goals with enthusiasm and self-motivation. Sometimes, effective followers also act as leaders to their teammates.” So, basically, we have a leader in each follower, the only requisite is to identify the true potential of the follower and let them tread freely on the right track.
Every follower has a distinct style of working. The study says, that every team member follows the instructions of his leader in a unique way. The aim or objective set for the team remains the same, but the approach to meet the target is different for different team members. Now, this difference leads to ‘comparison’- one of the very sensitive matters that impact the work environment. Another issue that stirs disputes among the followers is the ‘difference in opinion’. Many a time, while working as a team, the followers don’t see eye to eye. Eventually, while trying to prove that their ideas are better than their counterparts, they become a part of an unsolicited and unnecessary competition. The aforementioned factors put additional pressure on the followers and their performance gets impacted adversely. So, unhealthy competition and comparison are the major factors that lead to disputes and dissatisfaction among followers.
‘Crucial conversations for accountability’, plays an important role here. It teaches a process and series of dialogue skills for managing performance--from coaching through behavior challenges to helping people identify and achieve goals, and get back on track when performance falters. Crucial Conversations for Accountability gives people the skills to elevate team members, and close the gap between expectations and performance.