Good followers make good leaders
Written by: Renée LeMoine
Photo by: Ivan Malý
Recently, I hired a new sales associate
that asks so many questions that she keeps me from getting my own
work done. How can I get her to think for herself?
A new employee asking many questions is a positive sign, demonstrating
interest, determination, and motivation. Take advantage of her ambitions
and use them to guide her toward a leadership style that is compatible
with your ideal corporate culture.
While you should encourage staff to think for themselves, don't
overlook the fact that managers get things done through others.
If the staff isn't up to the task, then the manager fails. So, successful
managers rely on successful followers.
- Build competence in key areas and keep efforts focused for maximum
impact. In-house training courses are an efficient way to communicate
company philosophy, strategy, and rules. When you include a component
that introduces new employees to existing staff through team-building
courses, they can see themselves within the organization rather
than outside it. It also heartens new staff to identify key persons,
other than yourself, who can share ideas, information, and sales
tactics with them. This can free up a lot of your time, while insuring
that the employee is building a network and becoming integrated.
- Model exceptional behavior. If you come to the office ten minutes
late, or fail to fulfill promises, employees will reflect these
behaviors. Conversely, the opposite - working hard and showing interest
in their projects - will also serve as a reference. As a leader
you are always "on the air"; use it to your advantage.
- Give her the opportunity to manage herself. As she masters primary
skills and understands the most effective methodologies for utilizing
them to increase sales, her confidence will grow. As you see her
development maturing, urge her to find new ways to deal with old
problems. Stimulating creative thinking is useful for bringing in
fresh and unique perspectives into an organization.
- Inspire her to find a purpose outside herself. Effective followers
are committed to something - a product, a project team, or an idea.
Most people like working with colleagues who are both emotionally
and physically committed to their work.
Article prepared by Renée LeMoine, Executive Director, LeMoine
& Associates .
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