It’s interesting that leadership and followership have the word ship in them. So I decided to have a think about about what those people in your crew want from a leader to make sure your journey together goes as smoothly as possible and achieves what it needs to.
From a followers or crew member perspective what do I want from my leaders and what can they give me to make sure they get the best out of me.
Here’s my top ten in no particular order.
1. Be believable / inspiring / motivating / committed / passionate
Get me out of bed in the morning, not literally of course, but help give me the drive and motivation to come and deliver for you.
2. Be consistent
Make sure I know or at least have some inkling what your normal style is so I can prepare for it. Don’t throw me curve balls. Let me know where I stand.
3. Take time for people and time for ideas
If this was a traditional top ten this would be up there for me. Make me feel important and valued. Make time for me. Ask my opinion every now and then. Be both approachable and accessible.
4. Make decisions and make them clear
You’re the leader. I’m not. Listen to me but make a decision. Don’t leave me hanging. And make sure that decision is clear and don’t get frustrated if I ask for clarity.
5. Take corrective action
Deal with the crew members that aren’t performing. There’s nothing worse for a follower who is performing that seeing other crew members drinking all the rum.
6. Praise, give recognition and identify opportunities
Don’t just get in touch when something isn’t working, or I made a mistake. Make sure you fill up my positive marble jar with some feedback and also tell me about opportunities which could help me develop. Reward and recognition is a lot more than just financial, although I'd like a few more quid please.
7. Recognise individual strengths and use them
We are more than our job title. That’s just a label we are wearing at the moment. Find out more about us, about what makes us tick, what gives us energy and if you can get us doing some of that.
9. Trust me. I’ll trust you
Steer me, direct me, re direct me when I need it and then just let me get on with it and don’t sweat the small stuff.
10. Be visionary
Remind me regularly why the work I am helping deliver is important. Show me the way. If we get detoured help me understand the positives from that change and drive the work forward.
11. Have fun
I know I said 10. But try and make work fun too.
Not much then. In fact there is probably a lot more, but if you can nail them then I’d love to work with you and I bet others would do.
I did an exercise once with my old team about what made us a high performing team. It was a great session. We were honest with each other. We got to know each other better and we performed even better. Do we do that often enough and engage honestly with our followers to ask what they want?
If you're a leader I know and you're reading this then don't worry, it's not about you. It's about what I want remember. Chances are you are the reason why something in my top ten is important because you were awesome at it, so thanks for being a great leader, I hope I was a great follower.
I have been a leader before and hope to be again. I’m certain I didn’t meet all the expectations of my followers and I’ll certainly be trying harder to deliver what they need next time I find some...............
Best go now do some following.
Mr Paul Wyse