Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Being a Good Follower

Think about what happens in a meeting when the leader asks everyone to stand up. People hesitate. They try to figure out if the leader really means it. A group decision gets made about whether they will collectively follow the leader's directions. Some people, perhaps most people, will stay seated and try to wait it out. Even when most of the room stands, a few hold-outs will stay seated trying to look too-cool-for-this.

Now think about the value of two potential outcomes. In one, the leader successfully gets everyone to stand. In the other, the room rebels and stays seated. In most situations, everyone in the room gets more value if the leader is successful. When the leader fails, their plan is thrown off, the group falters, perhaps the whole purpose of the gathering is lost. No matter how silly the leader's gimmick seems, it is usually in the best interest of the group to follow it.

Our role as practical leaders is to help the group succeed. As members of the audience, we participate in the group decision to follow or not. We can influence that group decision by standing without hesitation. That gives others permission to follow as well. We can be good leaders by being good followers.


travel agent business independent said...

very good - following is important

self help growth improvement said...

many focus on being a leader when follower is important too.