I asked a simple question of a group of supervisors last week: “What are the best ways you’ve found to get things done through your people?”
One offered, “Just ask them nicely.”
“Get them involved early in the process,” suggested another.
“Tell them how much you’ve appreciated their past contributions,” opined a third.
Then came the answer that stopped the process cold.
“My boss told me to get smart with them (my employees) more often so they’ll know who’s in control.”
Followers: The Essential Element of Leadership
As difficult as that last answer was to hear, it provided the perfect opportunity to remind my audience what is the essential element of leadership. Followers have always been, still are and will always be the essential element of leadership — without them, leaders cannot survive.
In Chapter 3 of my upcoming book, Leaders Ought to Know: 11 Ground Rules for Common Sense Leadership, I point out that employees have little choice but to do what their leader instructs. They do as they’re told, regardless what rude, repressive, even repulsive method their supervisor employs, or they face the unpleasant consequences. So it’s not surprising when employees often do just enough to get by and their supervisors show limited success getting significant things accomplished through their people.
For leaders, the reality is that we succeed only through the consistent, concerted efforts of dedicated followers — individuals who are willing, able, and available to follow our lead — people who believe in us and choose to follow us with passion, commitment and purpose.
Leaders ought to know that the days of iron-fisted, autocratic rule in the workplace are systematically giving way to a more involved and engaged leadership approach that values the essential element of leadership — our followers.
Join Our Followers – LinkedIn Discussion Group
So how about you? What are the best ways you’ve found to get things done through your people?
Please share what has worked for you — and hear what works for other leaders — in our LinkedIn discussion group.
Phillip Van Hooser
Leadership Expert, Keynote Speaker, Author – Leaders Ought to Know: 11 Ground Rules for Common Sense Leadership