Followers or Subordinates…

…the choice is up to you.

Getting off on the right foot as a new leader is no easy task.  The assumption many executives and partners make is that the firm has given them a group of willing followers.  Actually, what you’ve been given is an opportunity to create followers.  And, if your successful, gain their trust as leader.

John Gardner writes in On Leadership, “…They have been given subordinates.  Whether the subordinates become followers depends on whether the executives act like leaders.”

How do leaders act when they step into a new role?

1.  The leaders first order of business is to initiate meaningful conversations with key people and groups.  Yes, there are many tasks to be done and plans to be made; however, leaders connect with people first. It sounds rather simple to be encouraging you to talk to people.  But, most new leaders overlook or minimize the power of this simple action.

2. Leaders listen twice as much as they speak.  You might mesmerize them with your words, but you mobilize them with understanding.  Grasping where they’ve been, what they’ve been working toward and what they hope is possible, prepares their minds and hearts to follow your lead.

3. Leaders show that they know the business and intend to conduct business in a manner that will sustain and grow the business.  People follow leaders who put the wellbeing of the business ahead of their personal ambition.

Take the time to create followers.  The rewards will extend far beyond your current assignment.

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02-15-12

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