As a follower, it takes a lot of courage to stand up to your leader and actually question the decisions that they are making.

Hi there and welcome. It’s Kerstin Jatho here from 4Seeds Consulting, a transformational coach who helps people shift from languishing to flourishing. In today’s video, I want to talk to you about four steps on how to leverage your followers. In my profession, I experience and work with a lot of teams, and I come across something called conformist teams.

Teams who are in their comfort zone, they do what is being told to them. They don’t question their work. They execute; they are order takers as I would call them. These team members are not flourishing. They are absolutely languishing. They are not at their optimal and are not producing at their highest. Perhaps the leader is aware of it, perhaps he or she is not, but you want to really create followers who add value to your organisation. And what does that mean? Having followers who add value to an organisation? These followers, as we call them exemplary followers, have two characteristics.

The one is that they are exceptionally independent, but critical thinkers. The second one is that they always explore, ask themselves, ‘Are we adding value? Can we do this smarter, better, faster?’ And also, they are not only decision takers, they really question the leaders, but in a gentle way. So, it’s not meant in a challenging way.

To help leaders make the shift to really invite and create these exemplary followers, we require five steps.

Step 1:

The first step is to welcome the thought process and the mindset of these followers that they actually think critically with you as a leader.

Step 2:

The second one is to not take it personally when a follower questions one of your decisions. They are not doing it to really question your authority, but really are trying to see if you have thought of everything. And perhaps they’ve got a different angle on it, or a perspective. Being very mindful that your followers are very technically skilled as they often do all the work. So, they might not see it the way that you do. And it is always good to have a sounding board come back and question what you’re saying.

Step 3:

The third one is to express sincere gratitude for the person to have the courage to question you. As a follower, it takes a lot of courage to stand up to your leader and actually question the decisions that they are making, perhaps really digging deeper, if they’re morally correct, if they’re ethically correct, if that’s what we should be doing. So those kinds of things.

Step 4:

The fourth one is invite your followers to think more and more critically amongst each other. And the last one is invite them to always question, ‘How can we add value collectively, independently? How can we do things smarter, better, faster?’ Because the more people think about something, the more improvement you have on your productivity and your quality, which in the end is really what you want it to be.

In the end, an exemplary follower, really as a leader, has a huge impact on your level of efficiency and your level of success. And that has a huge impact on your reputation and perhaps career advancement.

So, I invite you to start looking at your team and giving them permission to really start thinking critically, to voice their opinions. They might be fearful. It might be something that they are very unfamiliar with. So, introduce this process very slowly.

Over to you for sharing your comments and experiences.

Would this concept work in your organisation and with your team?

About the Author: Kerstin Jatho

Kerstin is the senior transformational coach and team development facilitator for 4Seeds Consulting. She is also the author of Growing Butterfly Wings, a book on applying positive psychology principles during a lengthy recovery. Her passion is to develop people-centred organisations where people thrive and achieve their potential in the workplace. You can find Kerstin on LinkedIn, Soundcloud, YouTube and Facebook.

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  1. conley 10 March 2022 at 1:09 AM - Reply

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    • Kerstin Jatho 10 March 2022 at 9:33 AM - Reply

      You are most welcome and thank you for the positive comment.

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