Followers Make LeadersYou may be “the boss” because someone gave you a title or a position, but you are not a leader until someone chooses to follow you. And if you expect people to follow you just because of your title, you will be disappointed. If you want people to follow you, you have to demonstrate to them that they are important to you and to achieving the team’s goal.
Leaders Have GoalsYou can’t just lead. You have to lead *toward* something. You have to have a goal. It’s not really important what that goal is as much as it is important that you have a goal that you believe in passionately. Your goal might be to exceed your sales goal by 50 percent. Your goal might be a simple as getting through the day without a lost-time accident. Or it could be somewhere in between. But you have to have a goal that you are leading toward.
Leaders Believe In Their GoalsYou have to believe your goal is worthwhile and that it’s attainable. If you don’t believe, how can you expect anyone else to believe? And if they don’t believe, how can you expect them to follow you toward that goal?
You have to passionate about the goal, not just about achieving it. And you have to communicate that passion to your followers. You want them to be passionate about the goal too.
Leaders Share Their GoalsWhen you have decided what the goal is, you have to communicate it to the team. Even those that profess their willingness to “follow you anywhere” will want to know where that “anywhere” is. Communication skill is absolutely essential for a leader.
Leaders Need Followers To Reach Their GoalsIf you can reach a goal all by yourself, go do it. You don’t need others and you don’t need to be a leader. You simply complete that task and achieve your goal. There is nothing wrong with that. It’s just that that isn’t leadership.
If your goal is something that needs help from others then that requires leadership. And leaders, therefore, recognize the value of their team members in achieving the goal. And they let those team members know that they are valued.
Followers Need TrustPeople will only follow leaders they trust. They trust that you care about them; that you believe in the goal. They trust that you will look out for them; that you will keep their needs in mind as they help you toward the goal. They trust in your integrity and that they can believe what you say. Trust is difficult to attain, but easy to lose. It is essential to keeping your followers.
Leaders Motivate Their FollowersYour team members trust you. They believe in the goal you have communicated. They believe you are committed to that goal and have a plan for achieving it. But they aren’t followers until you motivate them to take action. It is not enough to believe in something, even if you believe in it passionately. You will not achieve the goal unless people take action.
Motivation is different for all of us.
- You will find some people who are motivated by money. Many people will follow the leader of a start-up company because they believe the company’s product or service is good enough that someday it will get bought and they will make a lot of money from their stock options.
- You will find others who are motivated by an idea. Many political leaders get elected because their followers believe passionately in an idea that the politician supports.
- Still others are motivated by a challenge, or by a sense of adventure, or by the feeling of accomplishment they expect from reaching the goal.
It is up to the leader to determine what will motivate the team members and provide that motivation for each of them so they will convert from believers to followers by taking action toward the goal.
Bottom LineSo when you ask yourself “Why should anyone let you lead them?”, you must be able to truthfully answer that:
- You have a goal you believe in passionately
- You have communicated that goal to them and motivated them to move toward it
- And you have demonstrated to them that you value them and need them.