Be a Leader Worth Following

Nothing like a little healthy discussion about leadership on #Tchat last week. Of course, there are plenty of leaders out there providing their advice on how to be an effective leader, but I don’t think leader-to-leader advice is the best way to consider all angles. In this chat, we were able to get some employee/follower insights about what we would want out of our leaders. It was very interesting to get their responses and discover the attributes that they value in a leader and also what they think needs some improvement.

Are you missing the mark?

  • Stop walking too far ahead: of course, a leader’s main objective is to pave the way for the future. But are they pushing through the obstacles and trudging ahead without a glance backwards? It’s important to provide direction to your people but you need to also be involved in the group, otherwise you’ll never know if you’re being as effective as you could be.
  • You can dish it out, but you can’t take it: a big thing that is valued in the world of work is continuous feedback. But it shouldn’t only be one-way. Sometimes people need to be led differently. A leader will never know the greatest way to lead his/her people to the best of their abilities if they don’t open up to two-way communication and feedback.
  • No one’s perfect and you’re not an exception: the quickest way a leader can lose faith from their followers/employees is to act like they know everything. We don’t want to hear, “It’s my way and that’s final” or “This is how it’s always been done and we’re sticking to that.” Things in business change pretty quickly and so should you. We will respect leaders who are open to continuous learning even if they experience some failure along the way. Why would anyone want to follow someone who seems to be out of touch with the current state of things?
  • Are you using the tools forced upon us: companies are adopting all sorts of new procedures or technology to help collaborative efforts. Additionally, these things are supposed to help with communication. But what good is it if the people that can make a change (cough, leaders) don’t actually utilize these things? So, basically, we’re wasting our time going through these motions without being heard.

We’re not out there pointing fingers at leaders and telling them they’re at fault for something. Honestly, we just really all want to work together in the best way that we can, which will take equal effort on both our parts. Sure, things can get messy and sometimes our attempts won’t always pan out. But even if that’s the case, are you still a leader worth following?

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3 thoughts on “Be a Leader Worth Following

  1. Pingback: Week’s Best, 21 June | ChristopherinHR

  2. Ashley,

    I was delighted that ChristopherinHR steered me to you post. I have a special interest in leadership effectiveness which, more often than not, could use more than a little sprucing up.

    I particularly liked your point about “stop walking too far ahead.” Leaders bent on clearing out the brush with machete is one problem. Another is one that I’ve experienced and even been guilty of. When the leader has a creative vision that excites him/her, there is a temptation to run with it, not realizing that what s/he sees clearly in their head but may still be soup among employees who may be eager to jump on the bandwagon but are still trying to program their GPS. As you explain some leaders are quick to jump on the obstacles in their way but forget how important it is to turn their idea into something concrete for employees to seize.

    Thanks for a very interesting post. ~Dawn

  3. You bet I am using the same tools. It is hard enough to sell adoption of new tools and processes, especially when they are mandated, without also being seen actively following the new processes and utilizing the new tools.

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