There are countless guides on how to be a great leader, but no one gives any significance to being a good follower. Yeah, I get it, no one wants to be labeled as a follower. But why not? As business professionals, we are constantly expectant to get into a leadership role, and that’s what we are encouraged for.
Followership is the flip side of leadership, so if leadership is given so much importance, it has something to do with followership too, right? No matter what position we hold in any organization, we have done more of ‘following’ as compared to ‘leading’ if we look at our work career. A good follower has a desire to improve the quality of leadership, but followers get only a small fraction of airtime as compared to leaders.
A valuable followership is premeditated, active, and can make leaders much more efficient. The point that is often overlooked is that followers are highly responsible for leader’s success; they know what their leader require and provide them with what they want in order to move forward. To demonstrate this, we have great leader-follower pairs in the history starting from Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. In each of the case, the later turned the first into an icon. Followers complement for leader’s weaknesses and none can succeed without the other.
You may be a great leader as you have honed your leadership skills over time because eventually, you need to become a leader. Everyone thinks of being a follower as a journey that will take them to their eventual destination that is to be a leader.
Here’s how to be a good follower; they clearly explain the importance of followership:
Don’t follow blindly, have the courage to point what’s wrong
It is one thing to follow the leader and pursue their directives, but a follower should have a judgment if the direction is proper and ethical. If the follower feels that the directives given by his leader aren’t appropriate for the betterment of the organization, they should be careful before following them blindly. Good leaders have a good judgment of their decisions and directions, but a leadership role doesn’t always guarantee a good judgment. So if that’s the case, you need to do what’s right for your team and the organization, obviously after talking to your leader about it.
Have strong work ethic and be competent
Good followers are loyal to the organization, they are committed to their work, and they are diligent and self-motivated. The most important of them all is they are a good worker. They are competent at their tasks. It is also a responsibility of a leader to make sure that followers are good at what they do and have skills to accomplish the tasks that are assigned to them. Leaders cannot blame the followers for the skills that they don’t have to get the things done.
So are you capable of being a great follower, now that you know the importance of followership and how it affects the leadership?