Mel Savage Executive Coaching
Leading a Team

Why Followership is a sign of a Great Leader

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Followership is a valuable leadership skill. Here are 3 reasons why, and 4 strategies to be a better follower.
Followership is a valuable leadership skill that speaks directly to a leaders confidence and emotional intelligence. Here are 3 reasons why followership is a sign of a great leader, and 4 strategies to be a better follower.

As a leader, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that you need to be the one calling all the shots. After all, that’s what leaders do, right?

Well, not necessarily.

In fact, one of the most important traits of a great leader is the ability to follow.

Yes, you read that right.

Following is just as important as leading, if not more so.

But why? And how can you implement this into your leadership style?

Today, I want to explore the concept of followership, and offer 3 reasons why followership is a sign of a great leader. And as a bonus, I want to give you 4 strategies to be a better follower.

The one major myth to dispel before we go any further is that following someone else is a sign of weakness.

Leadership is a complex concept, and it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that a leader must be the one with all the best ideas, who is in charge at all times.

That is a narrow view of leadership that ignores the importance of followership.

Being able to openly accept the ideas of others, and support the team, even if you don’t agree with the final decision, is a sign of strength. It’s a sign of confidence. It’s a sign that your being right is less important than supporting the team.

A leader who is unable or unwilling to follow the lead of others is likely to struggle to build trust and respect among their team members.

So what exactly is followership?

Followership is the act of supporting and contributing to the goals of a leader or organization. It’s the ability to set aside your own ego and personal agenda in service of a larger purpose.

It’s about getting on board and supporting decisions 100%, even if the decisions were counter to your own opinion… and even if you don’t agree.

And followership is not just blindly following orders – it’s about actively engaging with the leader and the team to make the best decisions for everyone involved – even if it’s not your idea!

Followership is a valuable leadership skill that speaks directly to a leader’s confidence and emotional intelligence. It’s critical to a leader’s success… and here’s why.

Followership creates a culture of trust and respect within the team.

When you’re willing to listen to and value the opinions of your team members (peers, reports, bosses etc.), it sends a powerful message that everyone’s contributions are important. This, in turn, creates a sense of ownership and accountability within the team, leading to increased motivation and engagement.

You effectively create a sense of psychological safety within the team, where team members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas without fear of judgment or retribution.

Practicing followership allows you to role model the behaviors you want to see in others.

When you listen and trust others, they listen and trust you. When you get on board with the ideas of others, people get on board with your ideas. Funny that!

When you’re willing to be open and vulnerable and admit you don’t have all the answers or are willing to accept other people’s ideas as better than yours, your team is likely to do the same.

Followership broadens your ability to think strategically.

When you openly do things in other people’s way, you see that there are many solutions to any problem. There is never just one right way, there is only one way you make things right.

Knowing and practicing this allows you to see things from more perspectives and broadens your ability to problems solve.

So, how can you implement followership into your leadership style? Here are a few tips:

  1. Listen actively: When team members bring up ideas or concerns, really listen to what they have to say. Don’t just wait for your turn to speak – engage with their ideas and ask clarifying questions.
  2. Be open to feedback: It can be tough to hear criticism, but it’s important to remember that feedback is a gift. When team members give you feedback, take it seriously and use it as an opportunity to grow.
  3. Encourage dissent: It’s easy to fall into the trap of groupthink, but dissent can be incredibly valuable. Encourage team members to speak up if they disagree with a decision or approach, and actively seek out dissenting opinions.
  4. Commit 100%: Once the decision is made, go all in. Avoid walking around saying “that’s not the way I would have done it”. Instead focus on making any team decision the right decision and put as much passion and focus on making it work as you would if it was your own idea.

By implementing these tips, you can create a culture of followership within your team that will lead to greater success and engagement. Remember, being a great leader isn’t just about calling the shots – it’s about creating a culture of trust, respect, and collaboration.

Want to see if coaching is the right solution for you? Book a time to explore the benefits to you.

Bottomline: Followership is an essential component of effective leadership.

It’s not just about blindly following orders, but about actively engaging with the leader and the team to make the best decisions for everyone involved.

By practicing followership, leaders can build trust and respect within their team, model the behavior they want to see in others, and build better relationships with their team members. So, if you want to be a great leader, don’t be afraid to follow the lead of others.

HI, I'M MEL

I have 20+ years working as a leader in the corporate world. I know what you need to do. And I combine that with four years of training as a cognitive behavioral coach. I know how to help you naturally think like the leader you want to be.

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