Creating effective followers

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Followership: Much is written about effective leadership, but little is discussed about effective followership, and yet we all have a follower role to play in our organisations. Votive Leaderships unique effective followership model is designed to improve engagement in all employees and to improve the manager / team leaders ability to generate effective followership in those they lead. This model challenges an individuals thinking, their behaviour and the environment they are creating. It is a performance improvement model designed for the 21st century. But do not be fooled by the term ‘effective followership’; this is most definitely a leadership model, the missing piece in the jigsaw of a company’s performance make up. Designed to release the potential in others, this model will run as DNA throughout all of Votive programmes, adding a depth and relevance to everything we do. LinkedIn Votive Leadership Team: Votive Company Page - Keith - Alan - Fiona - Eddie - Jim -
  • 2. People do not follow leaders, they follow effective followers Around a team meeting table the leader asks a question and, although there may be many with questions, no-one will speak, until the effective follower asks their question first, thereby giving permission to everyone else to follow - not the leader. This does not mean the leader’s role is redundant, but it does question the main focus of the leaders’ attention. Leaders need to be highly aware of the followers they are creating with their management style and spend greater levels of energy and focus in nurturing the environment to allow Effective followership to flourish. Without this they run the risk of failing to achieve authenticity, a key leadership trait.
  • 3. The biggest challenge is that most people consider followership as a label to put on an individual rather than a description of a behavioural trait displayed by that individual at any given time. So although in followership language we describe behaviour where an individual delivers no added value, just does the task and gets through the moment as “sheep” behaviour, readers automatically label the person. And yet many of us display sheep behaviour at several times throughout the day. For example turning up at a meeting having not looked at the agenda or prepared for the subsequent discussions, sheep behaviour. Sitting in the back row of a conference / training room and not participating, sheep behaviour. Silo or ego based thinking, sheep behaviour. Sheep
  • 4. A third category of lesser effective followership are those behaviours typified by people feeling they cannot say no or indeed ask for help. How many times have we one this for fear of appearing inadequate and incapable? These “yes” behaviours also hide the sycophants who tell the boss what the boss wants to hear rather than what the boss needs to know. I am sure you will agree that these behaviours can be very dangerous for the company. Never question what they are doing and complete the task. They will actively support their manager and seek their favour. Weak leaders confide in them as they see them as their allies. Yes Men
  • 5. And what about “alien” behaviour? When I visit companies I hear a constant round of ‘pity me’ parties, where people are inviting others to join in their criticisms of the management, the customer, the product, the politician, the weather; the list is endless. These behaviours have no regard for the effect they may be having on the other party and subsequently damage engagement. These are alienated from the organisation, the manager or the task and as such moan about the problems. They use a lot of blame language and rarely take responsibility for their own emotions. Disliked by weak leaders because of their negativity, but rarely challenged. If left unchallenged, can have a corrosive influence on the team. Aliens
  • 6. Politically astute in that they will run with which ever pack they are currently with. Rarely put their heads above the parapet and unwilling to volunteer or take measured risk. Typically the most common group of follower found in business. Survivors
  • 7. Effective followers display high levels of courage and are willing to take massive levels of responsibility. These followers challenge decisions with the intent to understand. They contribute well beyond the task in hand and seek to engage on many levels. They are fundamentally supportive and loyal, but are willing to question. Weak leaders hate them, because they highlight the weak leaders flaws. Their existence is threatened by corporate culture and a high dependency on target driven management. Tend to be an aspiration rather than common practice.
  • 8. Followership  Model   Passive   Ac3ve   Ques3oning   SHEEP   YES     ALIEN   EFFECTIVE   SURVIVOR  
  • 9. How do we create effective Followers? An effective leader is one who creates the right environment for effective followership to flourish Leaders must, however, set the tone within their organization to enable their subordinates to be as effective as possible. Empowerment of followers to contribute to the business goals is the prerequisite to making followers effective. Empowering followers means training them in ways to solve problems as well as allowing them to act without approval for every task. In essence, empowerment enables followers to exert leadership over their specific area of work. Encourage positive Employee Engagement Encourage Upward feedback
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