A search of Amazon shows over 100,000 books available on the subject of leadership. While followership isn’t as popular (only 289 results on the topic) it’s the leading indicator of whether or not real leadership is happening.
If you don’t have followers are you really a leader? As a leader it is your responsibility to create conditions to increase the commitment of your followers.
Here are three ways that you, as a leader, can create these conditions:
- Take time – to understand and help your followers apply their strengths. Research shows that strengths based leadership significantly increases engagement which leads to greater follower commitment.
- Create connections – through community. Provide intentional opportunities for your team to develop connections in the workplace. The world of social media has demonstrated that a chorus of many voices often drowns out a single voice. Building strong communities within your followers provides a platform to lead from.
- Be a leader – that others want to follow. Model integrity, authenticity and competence to inspire followers to respect and trust in you.
The opposite of followership is desertion. Studies show that one of the most frequently cited reasons for leaving a job is a problem with the employee’s manager. This is clear evidence of failed leadership and a result of not providing conditions to increase the commitment of your followers.
Build on strengths, create communities and model the critical leadership behaviors needed to enhance your leadership through followership.
Focus on honing your leadership skills so that when you look behind you people will be following you. This is the measure of a true leader.