We hear things like “To be a good leader, you must be a good follower.” Is that true?
Well, think of it this way, it is ultimately the followers who determine if someone is a good leader! If someone says, “I’m a great leader,” and 20 “followers” think the person is terrible, the leader is probably egotistical and hallucinating.
Kouzes and Posner give us this from the research:
“Leadership is a relationship between those who aspire to lead and those who would choose to follow, and if no one is following you, then there’s no relationship there.”
What does this mean? Leaders invest in building relationships with others, and by doing so, they are able to create change and help others succeed.
Being a leader is not about you and leadership is never a solo activity.
The fact that leaders need followers—or they are not even leaders—is a game changer. It’s a reminder that, as a leader, IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU. It’s about a shared goal, genuinely caring about your team, and helping them reach that goal… together.
So how can you cultivate those good relationships? The first step is to see things from others’ perspectives. How? Follow this quick checklist:
Put yourself in their shoes and ask, “What kind of leader do I really like following?”
Go be that person!
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