Being a leader can take many different looks. It can be in business, parenting, friendships, family, sports,
etc. Often times people are chosen to be leaders because of their ability to perform a task. Although
this is a nice idea, often one doesn’t have much to do with the other. There is the obvious leading by
example mentality which can help but simply isn’t enough to be an effective leader.
When people are thrust into the leader position, the first thought is often how do I lead properly? What
do I do? What do I say? This puts the attention on the leader. If we first understand that the only thing
it takes to be a leader is followers, we can put the attention on the followers, where it belongs. Begin
asking yourself, why would someone follow me? What can I do for my followers? What would my
followers want? Then you can begin to access the mentality of effective leaders.
There are three main qualities of an effective leader/follower relationship. They are:
Trust: people will follow leaders they trust. When a leader stands up for their followers, takes their
circumstances, thoughts and feelings into consideration when deciding to move forward, this fosters a
relationship of trust. When you have a team behind you that trust you and believes you have their best
interest at heart, they will go above and beyond for you.
Respect: all good relationships are built on respect. If you give respect, you will receive it. This does not
mean allow yourself to get walked on…that is not respect…that is being weak. People don’t respect
weak leaders because they know that leader will not be able to stand up for them and therefore don’t
have the trust in them necessary for a successful leader/follower relationship.
Communication: another huge key is communication. When people don’t have information, they make
it up themselves. Therefore, when a leader makes a decision that overrides what the followers want,
it’s important to give an explanation. If possible, you can give a lot of information, sometimes that’s not
possible. In this case, it’s best to explain why you can’t give the full information of the why but you can
reassure them that their input was important and it was taken into consideration but there were other
factors you’re not able to share that leaned in the other direction. And in some companies, the truth is
that upper management is all about the money. If that’s the case, the followers already know. If you
lie about it, now you’ve lost their trust on top of being in a difficult position.
These three things: Trust, Respect, and Communication are the very same three things that any healthy
relationship is built on. We all have the capability of standing in these three things at times but not all of
us are supposed to be leaders in every way. If you are leading in a particular situation, stand in these
three qualities, stand in the values you feel have integrity and your followers will see it, notice it, feel it
and follow you anywhere because of it!
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