HOW TO BE A BETTER FOLLOWER


JLBC: HOW TO BE A BETTER FOLLOWER

TAKE THE OFFENCE IN COMMUNICATIONS

Good communication, so we are told, is two-way. The leader sends out information, and the follower responds. Perhaps this one-sided perspective is why over 20% of a leader’s time is spent seeking information.

Strong followers think about communication as four-way. It is a mutual process where followers take the initiative to offer information, and the leader provides feedback. After all, leaders are not telepaths and do not have secret crystal balls that lets them know what is going on or when to ask a question.

There is a critical difference, however, between leadership and followership communication. In general, the purpose of leadership communication is to unleash follower initiative. The purpose of followership communication is different: to stimulate the right leadership action. What does your leader need to do with the information you are providing? Make a decision? Get involved? Change expectations? Panic less? When considering communicating upwards, be transparent, candid, and to the point, and always remember what you think the leader should get involved in, when, and how.

JLBC: BE A TEAM MEMBER, DON’T DECLARE YOUR INDEPENDENCE

When hiring, most employers say they want self-motivated, independent thinkers with the genuine ability to work under little or no supervision. But is that who they want to lead?

We worked with one person who came to us after being turned down for a job. At the job interview, our client was asked what she wanted from her leader. Her response was: “Well, I really don’t need a boss who micromanages me as I am very responsible and reliable. My ideal boss would understand that I like to work independently, know how to do my job, and can be counted on to get the job done.” She then added, “I can manage myself.”

It is hard to lead, coordinate, or manage a team when its members are determined to be independent. Instead, the best followers work at being easy to manage.

JLBC: BE PART OF A WOLF PACK

Back in the 1980s, about 20% of work was done in teams. Now that number is closer to 80%. Gone are the days when being a team player meant just getting along.

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