Leaders cannot lead without followers, obviously. But, have you ever asked yourself why others would want to follow you? The answer is important to consider. Here are a few ideas.
Employees follow someone based on what the leader stands for. It’s important that leaders clearly communicate their stand, and that their behaviors are aligned with that message. There are detrimental consequences when the two don’t match.
- One is certainly disgruntled and unengaged employees.
- Another is a PR nightmare – no company or leader is immune from viral social media exposures. A recent example is a large banking institution that communicated significant changes in how they now conduct business, but employees exposed that these were in words only, but not in behavior change.
Employees will follow when they hear the leader’s message and observe the matching actions. It’s not about being the perfect leader with all the qualities that inspire others – yes, even including our 25 Tips – but it’s the fact that they know your focus, and it’s predictable, authentic, and important.
Sure, leading a sound business that is profitable, focuses on key outcomes, and has all the essential operations and resources are absolutely critical. Unfortunately, time and energy are often focused on this bucket of items. While this bucket is needed, management and often leaders under-estimate the need to emphasize passions, aspirations, mission and vision that provide employees with what they crave – meaning and purpose, a sense of belonging and realization that their contributions make a difference.