Uncovering Genius – Follow the Leader

Found in Series: Uncovering Genius

Over the last few months, we’ve been talking about uncovering the genius of others in their own business and career contexts. Today, we’re talking about the importance of following. Here at CityLead, we believe good leaders should also be good followers, and workers who are good followers can also become good leaders. 

Five Types of Followers in the Workplace

1. Alienated Follower

These followers think, but don’t “do.” They’re capable, but not willing. They tend to talk and talk about the problems and issues facing the company, but they offer no solutions. And they often have critical spirits. 

2. Compliant Follower

On the other end of the spectrum is the compliant follower. These people tend to be “yes” people. They take a lot of action, but they don’t think independently about the issues. They simply blindly follow whatever the leader says. 

3. Passive Follower

Passive followers just do what they’re told and don’t take ownership or responsibility over their duties or actions. We at CityLead want to offer a caution for these types of followers: unless you’re just starting out in the workforce and are new at your job, you should not be in this quadrant.

4. Effective Follower

Ideally, all our employees would be effective followers. These are true coworkers who you should want to be on your team. Effective followers are committed to their job and creative at finding solutions. 

5. Survivor Follower

These are the types of people who have a survivor mentality at work. They do whatever they can to get by, including playing cutthroat company politics. Survivor followers tend to try to be all things to all people, so they don’t have to make a commitment one way or another. 

Four Thoughts that Can Help Your Company Grow 

Now that we know the types of followers we may experience in the workplace, how do we use this information to build effective teams that can help our companies grow and thrive?

1. Hire for Initiative

Those who have initiative have a strong work ethic. They are diligent in all they do. Unfortunately, we have learned at CityLead that you cannot create initiative. You may be able to change and improve your own initiative, but you cannot change someone else. Initiative is an internal process that cannot be externally affected. 

2. Worry Early

Worrying isn’t always beneficial, but if you’re going to worry about a project, task, or other issue at work, worry early. Instead of spending lots of time vaguely understanding what will be required to complete the project but not taking a lot of action, and then panicking when the deadline approaches because you’re in over your head, put in the time to prepare first. Become as informed as you can about what the project will require to be completed well, and then systematically work through the individual tasks until the project is complete and you feel well-prepared even ahead of the deadline. 

3. Prepare for the unknown

There is the unknown and unknown, where you have no idea what is about to happen and have no plan to combat it, and there is the known unknown, where you know what could happen and you have a plan to deal with it even though you don’t know exactly when it will happen. Just as those of us who deal with hurricanes, blizzards, tornadoes, and earthquakes have plans for how to stay safe and hopefully minimize the damage, you should also have a plan to help you deal with any eventuality you may face in your business. 

4. Build on Your Character

Character is important because it creates trust with your team members, your clients, your board, the community, etc. When you are a person of character who leads a company of character, those you deal with know they can trust you to take care of them and their needs. 

We hope you enjoyed learning from this CityLead session. If you would like to receive more content or want to host your own CityLead gathering, contact cameron@citylead.com for more information.

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