How To Gain Your First Loyal Follower
Many managers will agree with me on this point: Being in charge of people doesn’t mean you will gain even one true follower. Managers are never leaders by appointment. Gaining followers is something you have to earn, something you have to prove you deserve many times over before people will even consider following you.
“Why Should I Care About Followers? My employees already do what I ask of them.”
I should probably start by explaining exactly what I mean by a ‘follower’, and why exactly you should crave them so badly. What makes followers so incredibly important that they’re worth making huge sacrifices on your part to simply attract?
1. A Shift to Task Orientation
Followers believe in your goals, and believe in their efforts. Its because of this, a follower’s work ethic quickly shifts to task orientation (the goal) rather than simply working their contracted hours (their input). These working habits don’t necessarily turn your people into long-hour workaholics, but they ensure your people put the extra hours in when it matters most and could carry the greatest benefit.
2. A Dynamic Team
A team of subordinates will do exactly as you tell them if you shout loud enough, but a team of followers will be performing, improving and innovating the tasks you give them. Building a pro-active team is essential to driving operational efficiencies across your organisation, and getting your knowledgable and expert staff to actually add value to the method of the very tasks they perform! Saving you time and improving efficiency in the long run.
3. A Happier Working Life
It will come as no surprise that having a team of supportive and reliable people will make your working day a much more pleasant one.
4. The Benefit Of The Doubt
Believe it or not, employees are continually looking for people to trust at work. They’re looking for a solid character whom in a tough work environment, they can rely on to show integrity and strong leadership. Once you’ve passed peoples rigorous and uncomprimising judgements and they’re a follower, it’ll take alot to change their stance. This means you can afford to make mistakes, without fearing the wrath of the rumour-mill and a bitter reception from collegues. Frankly, serious mistakes can be laughed away if people see you in the correct light. Similar errors, could equally ruin a manager whom shows no respect for his staff.
“OK, you’ve convinced me. Followers are worth working to gain, but how do I go about earn true followers?”
I find that while one can spend 45 hours at work each week, only a precious couple of those hours actively contribute towards your professional and career development. These hours may present rare opportunities, pressured events, or moments of inspiration.
The other 43 are merely ‘maintenance’ hours. Maintenance hours are necessary to execute your role, but don’t actually provide the ‘step up’ to your next big achievement, whether that be a productivity target, a more senior job, or simply a task done to perfection.
I call the few precious hours a week ‘Crucial Hours‘. They’re crucial in that without them, you could quickly stagnate in your current role and easily find yourself in the same place 3 years from now. But they’re also named so because how you behave within them means the difference between going nowhere, and seriously attracting a loyal team of followers.
So, this is what I would like you to take away from this article. Have a heightened awareness that only a scarce few opportunities will appear each week that will enable you to display a set of morals, to lead by example, or to inspire others to achieve. Be on the lookout for these crucial hours, and focus your effort when it will really make a difference to your employees morale. Followers will soon… follow!