Would You Follow You?

Someone with authority or a specific title may be able to use those kinds of power to convince you to comply with an order or direction, but a title or other authority almost certainly isn’t going to convince you to follow them willingly wherever they lead. So if you want to be a leader, a good place to start is by considering what convinces you to follow someone else.

The behaviours that seem to carry the greatest weight here are ones to do with trust.

  • Trust that you know what you’re doing or that you ask the right questions of the right people – that’s competence.
  • Trust that you know where we’re going – that’s vision.
  • Trust that you aren’t in it just for yourself, but will consider my interests as well – that’s integrity.
  • Trust that you’ll listen to me and really consider what I say – that’s inclusivity.
  • Trust that if things go horribly wrong, you won’t shift the blame to everyone else and that if things go wonderfully right, you won’t take all of the credit – that’s honesty.

Were any of these items in your mind?

We all have reasons for doing what we do, but we don’t always recognise that by failing to build trust, we’re undermining our own ability to lead, both now and in the future. Think back to the people you would and would not follow. Consider those behaviours in light of your own self-examination and identify one behaviour that you think you can improve – that would make you more likely to follow you. The mere fact that you’re trying to develop more positive behaviour is likely to be seen as constructive by those you’re interested in leading.

Summing-up: We all need to be able to lead without authority. At work, we may be dealing with a matrixed organisation or cross-functional project teams, but this need also shows up at home and in our private lives. Regardless of your interests, you’ll need to start by ensuring that you would follow you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *