If your house is on fire, you want to know there’s someone calling the shots. More importantly, you pray for a team of strong, skilled, and courageous followers. My husband’s a firefighter, he knows the life and death importance of following well.
My friend, a Battalion chief leading the City’s firefighters, shares great stories of hiring for, and developing, great followers. Sure, he has a succession plan and builds leadership at every level.
But when the city’s burning, the character and skills of the followers are just as vital. Great leaders nurture followership. Great leaders know how and when to follow.
6 Ways To Be a Better Follower
Great leaders grow other leaders. They also nurture followership. As I look back over the years to the best followers on my teams, 6 characteristics stand out.
F – Focus
Focused energy. Passionate drive. Great followers focus on results and outcomes. They care deeply about their craft. They focus on the details and doing the best work possible.
O – Open to feedback and new ideas
Great followers have open hearts and minds. They want to improve and seek out feedback. They are open to people, change, and new ideas.
L – Loyal
Strong followers are loyal to the cause and to the team. They rise above drama and gossip and give folks the benefit of the doubt. They offer feedback from a place of deep concern. They’ll take one for the team.
L – Learning
Learning is second nature for great followers. They learn from experience, failure and success, introspection, and other people. They read books and seek out mentors. Learning is exciting and fun.
O – Offer Solutions and take initiative
Great followers care and solve problems. They turn expertise into creative solutions. They speak up and tell the truth.
W – Work as “We”
Great followers work well with others. They share best practices, workload, credit and feedback. They have each other’s backs.