Of all the questions leaders ask themselves, “Are you easy to follow?” rarely makes the list. I think we make leadership harder than it really is. Fundamentally, what is leadership? At it’s core – underneath all the strategy and psychology – isn’t leading just having people follow you? We get so wrapped up in trying to do the “right” things and say the “right” things. But if no one is following you, sorry, you aren’t leading – you’re just taking a walk!
You become a leader the moment someone follows you. Conversely, you cease to lead when others cease to follow. On a very real level, your followers define your leadership. So how do you attract and captivate the best followers? You start by making it easy for them to follow you:
1. Dream Big. What are you aiming at? What are you trying to accomplish? Is it remarkable enough to entice others to join you? Is it worthwhile enough to inspire others to action? This is where it all starts. You must be willing to unleash your dreams and believe in yourself and others. You’ve got to offer them a journey to a destination that truly speaks to their hearts and minds. A bold vision clearly communicated will draw people to you.
2. Get Results. Can you make it happen? Can you get it done? Dreams are one thing, reality and accomplishment are something else. Great things don’t happen by accident. You’ve got to wake up, make a decision, and take action. Discipline yourself, get support, and sacrifice for the big dream. Build a reputation of someone who gets things done – ethically and honorably. People drift toward people who have a big dream and a reputation of coming through on what they say they’re going to do.
3. Prioritize People. Will people make a stand with you? You can have the dream and the resolve to carry it out, but it’s the people following you that will multiply your vision and actually make it a reality. Bottom line, people like to be around people who put them first. To keep your followers and sustain your success you need to sincerely care for them. You’ve got to genuinely put their needs ahead of your own. (FYI, if you’re human, this goes against your natural inclination)
Dare to dream big dreams. Find a way of delivering those dreams. Care radically about other people. Do these three things and people will follow you. Fail to do any one of them and your leadership will fade into the background.
As a leader, which do you struggle most with – Dreaming, Doing, or Caring?