building followers

Leading Is About Building Followers

The Error In Knowing Everything

You got to where you are today because you were willing to put in the time and effort to get here. You put in the extra effort, whether that be in gaining experience, expanding your skills, working long hours, being daring enough to start a business or putting yourself out there to volunteer.

Individuals do not end up in leadership positions, by doing nothing.

Now just because you ended up in the position, does not necessarily mean you are always doing it. After all, your strength as a leader, is measured in two ways. The first one is whether you have any followers. You can’t lead unless there is someone willing to follow you. If you are the one doing all the work, then you would have to question whether you have anyone following you.

The second is the measure of the results you and your team produce. If there are no results, then there is no need for someone to lead, because the group is simply happy just hanging around.

While, as a leader, it is important to be congruent in what you say and do and to be confident in your team, there is one thing often missed. What is that one thing?

Here it is…you are not perfect.

Nor should you be. You do not need to have every answer. You do not need to be part of every situation. You do not need to be the one out in front all the time and in fact, in order to attract followers, they first need to know you need them and then they need to know they have something to contribute.

A leader has followers because they hold a bigger picture of what is possible and through their ability to influence and bring the best out in the people around them, together you accomplish amazing things. The reason people want to work with leaders is because they want to be pushed in their own abilities, they want to try new things and be supported when things don’t work out so well, and they want to know you and build a personal connection with you.

There is a saying, “if you are the smartest person in the room…change rooms!” Its also true in leading. If you are the one with all the answers, then your vision isn’t big enough and that is a big part of what leading is. It is about creating a vision for the future big enough that it even makes you uncomfortable.

The behavior a leader demonstrates, provides the cues to a follower on how to interact and about what is important. By letting your followers see you as not not knowing everything, you tell them many things.

  • You demonstrate to them it is okay to be vulnerable and to ask for help, because after all you want your followers to know it is okay to ask for your help.
  • You demonstrate to them it is okay to not have everything figured out in this moment and that together you will come up with a great solution.
  • You demonstrate you have been where they are and that it is okay to feel a little uncertain in taking on new challenges.
  • You demonstrate you value them through the connections you build in being a “real” person.

Leaders need followers, however followers need to feel needed in order to follow. Leading is about having the ability to relate to and influence people, and it is in your ability to demonstrate how you need them, together you can make huge impact.

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