HOW Does a Leader Create (true) Followers?



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Leadership > Best Practices > HOW Does a Leader Create (true) Followers?

HOW Does a Leader Create (true) Followers?
Debeli Geleta, Manager, Ethiopia, Member
What is exactly is the quality of leaders to have followers? I want to have insight how do leaders create true followers?

How Leaders Create Followers
Andrew Blaine, Business Consultant, South Africa, Member
True followers are only created by a true leader. In simplistic terms " the manager chooses the right person for the right job", and the leader makes the chosen person happy doing the job allocated.
In business there are many guides as to how the first job can be done, but very few on how to do the second.
While leadership skills can be enhanced, they cannot be created. You can see this by examining your politicians, the true leaders truly serve their people not themselves. The true leaders stand out e.g. Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill.

Effective Followers are Effective Leaders
Stephen O. Asaju, Student (University), Nigeria, Member
An effective follower is most likely to emerge as an effective leader. Leadership and followership are dynamic human dimensions of management. A leader in one sphere of management may of necessity be a follower in another depending on the administrative structure of the organization. A leader who would efficiently create true followers must know the nitty gritty of followership and must have been true to the leaders he had served under. There is no fear in leadership if the occupant of the position had demonstrated submission, loyalty and commitment to the ideals of the organization under the leaders he had served as a follower. The principle is simply "as you lay your bed so shall you lie on it," or simply "whatever you sow, you shall reap." Pronto!

How Leaders Create Followers
Parthasarathy R, India, Member
The leaders shall be a role model to his followers in true sense. I think of Mr. M. K. Gandhi, as a true leader whose ideology and practice many of the leaders want to follow. The true leader shall develop more effective leaders who can take the industry/ country forward. I totally agree with Mr. Stephen that true follower will one day become a true leader.

HOW a Leader Creates Followers?
George sleeba
I do agree with Stephen & Prthasarathy on their views. I remember to have read in a book by Napoleon Hill that an effective leader is a leader by choice, rather than a leader by force.
The reason why many imposed from top fail as leaders may be due to this. In each level of organisational hierarchy, managers have the opportunity to serve as both followers and leaders. Leaders to their colleagues/subordinates and followers to their bosses/colleagues as the situation warrants.
One who has not at anytime in his/her career been a follower may fail to understand that leading involves more in listening to the followers than giving them orders.
Effectiveness stems from taking them together in the journey to achieve organisational goals, walking in the front only when needed.
I feel the model of servant leadership, as Jesus Christ demonstrated, is more appealing to the present generation.

How a Leader Creates Followers
Phillip J. Ramirez, Manager, United States, Member
By walking the talk. Gaining trust from the one's you lead. Setting a prime example. If your followers see you straying off the path, then they'll have second thoughts about you as a true leader. A good leader should also have excellent listening skills, if you don't know what your people want and need, then you'll never gain the trust and followership that is needed. Servant leadership as George Sleeba above stated is very true too.

Creating True Followers as a Leader
Robert Wamai, Business Consultant, Kenya, Member
Leadership is about inspiring people. Give them a vision and guide them to the promised land so to speak.
Followers will only be true if they feel that you care. They listen to a leader but more importantly watch his actions.
Any contradictions will result in mistrust and loss of respect. Then the followers lose passion and are no longer 'true followers'. As such there are no true followers only true leaders - caring, passionate, authentic, visionary and patient.
When one has such qualities and some indicated above, the followers will become true. They are not 'created' true but are 'made true by the leader. Many times when leaders have a problem with their followers they should first look into the mirror - they could be staring at the source and hence the solution of the problem.

Followership in Leadership
O.O.Testimony Onifade, Director, Nigeria, Member
No leader can lead well except he also possesses the attribute to follow instructions and guide the people in obedience to the vision and common set goals of the organisation he is leading. Therefore, no leader possesses power of absolute leadership. The followers determine his success by their choice to follow or not. So the effectiveness of a leader resides in the willingness of followers to accord their leader that honor. Because a true leader earns respect not by commanding respect.

Followership in Leadership
George sleeba
@O.O.Testimony Onifade : We often debate whether leaders are born or made? There could be many examples that substantiate both. But whichever route one takes to become a leader, the most important trait that sustains him and makes him effective in his leadership role is his ability to be a follower of those whom he leads.
Because, it is the concern he has for his followers and the extend to which he understands their genuine needs and addresses them in his plans and programs that keeps him relevant.

Followership in Leadership
Stephen O. Asaju, Student (University), Nigeria, Member
@George Sleeba : There should be no controversy that leaders are MADE not born. Yes, there is an interaction between nature and nurture in order to facilitate and bring forth the potential qualities of the leader. The personality of the leader which may affect his activity and productivity is dependent on his ability to learn and apply the principles of leadership to practical situations.
Even in certain aristocratic and monarchical settings, where the assumption of leadership role(s) is almost automatic, leaders must be nurtured and tutelaged in order to conform to the norms, ethics, and etiquette of leadership.
Without the necessary and concrete socialization, leadership becomes a bane and a blight hence ineffective and inconsequential.
Relevance as a true leader depends on the acceptance by the followers of his plans, programmes and projects as regards their general welfare, upward vocational mobility and job satisfaction both intrinsic and extrinsic.

Good Followers Seldom Make Good Leaders
Andrew Blaine, Business Consultant, South Africa, Member
@Stephen O. Asaju: I am not sure I agree that being a good follower is a prerequisite to being a good leader. In my experience, many a poor follower makes an exceptional leader, essentially because they become frustrated with, particularly, mediocre leadership. In my opinion good leaders are not always good followers.

Followership in Leadership is Situational
George sleeba
@Stephen O. Asaju: Is not leadership situational? Leaders may have to steamroll in certain situations in the overall interest. They cannot be democratic when handling crisis situations. But that doesn't mean that they can continue to be so even after the crisis is over. Transformational leaders may have to have a right mix of leadership and followership. Maybe the mix varies depending on the situation.

Authentic Leadership Creates Authentic Followers
Gregory Johnson, Coach, United States, Premium Member
Interesting commentaries. I was struck with the idea of "organizational culture" when thinking of followers. Leaders can set the tone of an organization, either good or bad. But authentic followers are inspired by authentic leaders that listen, speak with and not over others, delegate in a shared and measured learning experience for selective followers.
But most important in my world is the leader that sets the tone for the culture of progress, passion, nurturing, genuine team work or working together, trust, empathy of all persons and positions and much more designed to move and empower the human side of the organization.
Followers choose to follow leaders with the qualities most attractive to them. Now, not all leaders would be viewed as good unless a follower is seeking to learn more about power. There is a narcissistic element among many in positions of leadership that, by definition, are painting a picture of leadership that is not progressive but more self serving. They must be replaced - now!

The 3 Keys of the Leader to Create True Followers
Javier Elenes, Business Consultant, Mexico, Member
Your people will be true followers if they perceive that you as a the "leader":
1. "Wants my well-being" (so be sure that reaching the goals will be God for your people not only the organization)
2. "Looks like he is capable" (so be sure you are resourceful, always have a plan b)
And the most important key
3. What he says (the mission) is worth to pursue (so be sure you articulate and communicate a worthy vision / mission we are building a first world country versus we need to increase productivity by 30% to reach international levels)
In brief give them motivAction, (yes motivAction which means motives to take action pursuing a challenging mission which will allow to growth. Both as individuals (the followers) and as a team (the organization).
Good luck (but remember luck is detailed planning with alternatives and positive mindset).

Leaders Have the Power to Influence
Sunder Rajan, CEO, India, Member
Leadership is "the power to influence and bring about change".
Hence, effective leaders are able to influence others to their line of thinking - be it vision, goals, or action.
Note that a good leader can therefore influence people in all directions. The direction a leader can show to the followers can be good or bad! History is full of instances where the leader has been successful in influencing others, but in a destructive direction.
Anyhow, a successful leader must:
1. "Have conviction" in her/his idea(s),
2. Show commitment to that idea by "walking the talk", and
3. "Be persuasive" in influencing others to her/his line of thinking.
Those who are persuaded then become the "following community".

How Leaders Make Followers
Ramesh Ch, MBA, PMP, Six Sigma BB, Business Consultant, India, Member
Managers supervise people and do the ground-level work of organizations. Leaders change and improve the way organizations do their ground-level work.
Being a leader is the modern philosophy. From this perspective it's the leaders commitment to obtain followers by persistently upgrading themselves with expertise from all fronts - especially from a human capital perspective.

How Great Leaders Create Followers
Arif ur Rehman, Professor, Pakistan, Member
I recently came across the following quote which I need to share with everyone on the forum:
"Leadership must be based on goodwill. Goodwill does not mean posturing and, least of all, pandering to the mob. It means obvious and wholehearted commitment to helping followers. We are tired of leaders we fear, tired of leaders we love, and of tired of leaders who let us take liberties with them. What we need for leaders are men of the heart who are so helpful that they, in effect, do away with the need of their jobs. But leaders like that are never out of a job, never out of followers. Strange as it sounds, great leaders gain authority by giving it away."
— Admiral James B. Stockdale.

Transferring Leadership to Followers
Konstantinos Zacharis, Director, Greece, Member
To my opinion a leader is someone who manages to become "transparent" by psychologically transferring part of his power to his followers, so that they grow as "small leaders", each in his own section.
If everyone of his followers operates as such, then a true democratic leadership model can evolve.
The essence of leadership is being deployed inside every member of the organization.

Leadership Growth from Followership to Presence
Gregory Johnson, Coach, United States, Premium Member
@Konstantinos Zacharis: great closing line on this comment that adds to and changes the growth of this discussion from "quality of followers" to leadership presence.
Leadership presence is critical as an informal measurement of the effectiveness of the leader.
Leadership presence is "the walk away effect" of leadership. Once the leader has left the room does it leave a framework for performance? Does it inspire followers to act? Has the leader created an environment of "motivation & discipline" without him being there to manage the situation?
This is my awareness from the comment submitted by Konstantinos Zacharis.

How Leaders Make Good Followers
Alex Halale, Manager, Zambia, Member
I am having a problem to see real followers of a leader, being at work or in political parties. Example is one African country that had just lost the sitting head of state. Immediately when it was made public that the sitting head of state had passed on, allmost all the ministers moved away from his political party and joined a new political party.
While just a few days before his death, the some people said good things about this same head of state and how good it was to belong to his political party.
Help me why is this happening to some leaders.


Leaders and Followers in Politics in Africa
Andrew Blaine, Business Consultant, South Africa, Member
@Alex Halale: the reason for the "party swopping" in politics in Africa is that those who swop are in politics for their own benefit - the people who elect them are of no value or importance other than as a vote. They are neither followers nor leaders, but rather Jackals taking advantage when and where it happens - nkhandwe would be ashamed in fact!

Leader, Leadership and Having Committed Followers
Worknesh, Business Consultant, Ethiopia, Member
For me to be able to have good followers is determined by the leader's understanding of the difference between "leader" and "leadership".
While it is one thing for a leader to define clear direction, regularly stimulate followers' passion, provide timely support, etc.. it is equally vital for a leader to understand that leadership is about his/her capacity to perceive others as vital partners towards the collective journey.
For me that has strong energy in transferring and translating vision into action and having committed followers.

How to Have Followers
Gopalakrishna Bhat, Project Manager, India, Member
First of all you need to be clear which type of leader you want to be. Political, spiritual, corporate or another?
Then you have to adopt suitable skills to inspire people. Then they will follow you.
However some leadership qualities are common, such as: honesty, integrity, faith in his/her people etc. These are things people will look for in their leader.
You may not obtain instant results out of maintaining these. But in the long run it will reap you huge dividends (read numbers of followers).

HOW Does a Leader Create (true) Followers? Distinguish the Political from the Organisational Leader
George sleeba
I feel that we should differentiate between political and organisational leadership:
- In a political context, the leadership mostly emerges out of a win-lose situation. Once in power, they implement their plans and programs with an intent to be in power for the next term. There is an opposition that exposes the weaknesses of the rulers, yet helpless many a time.. In this win-lose game, the real losers are the people, unless a constructive opposition makes the rulers more sensitive and responsible to the people.
- In an organisational context, the person who assumes leadership does not have a mandate to implement his plans and programs totally disregarding a section of affected people. He needs to evolve plans and programs through a process of consultation and consensus, yet ensuring achievement of the desired goals. That is where his ability as a leader comes out. If he is able to inspire his followers for the common goal and succeeds in focusing their efforts for achievement of those goals, he succeeds.

Political and Organisational Leadership
Andrew Blaine, Business Consultant, South Africa, Member
@George sleeba: I think that if you had added the following words at the end of your comment, you would have found your answer. The words to be incuded are "If he cannot, he fails". There is no difference between corporate and political leadership; they both require the same pre-requisites. However, the difference lies with the followers, those in a corporate environment having a greater commitment to the decisions made.

How can a Leader Create True Followers?
Charlyn Warner, Teacher, United States, Member
Thanks to all those who have taken the time to put above reactions together and submit them.
I think that all leaders/followers in any organization have a responsibility to all stakeholders. They need to live transparently, do what they need to do, and have the integrity and ethics that are needed in today's corrupt world.
It is time to stand up for truth and do what we need to for maintaining organizations that have integrity. We seem to be losing that and it is being accepted by society. Stop-think-be honest-and do what is needed. We need more thinking like Ghandi - I truly can BE the change that is needed in the world.
Especially if you're a leader.

Create Players, not Followers
Tom Wilson, HR Consultant, United States, Premium Member
I want to create players, that is, individuals with the skill sets to operate independently and to contribute appropriately and constructively to tasks requiring interdependent behaviors.
Followers tend to be excess baggage.

Players and Followers
Andrew Blaine, Business Consultant, South Africa, Member
@Tom Wilson: I think you are being over-sensitive. In this context, a follower is a disciple i.e. a person who chooses to subscribe to the tenets promoted by a leader and contributes time, skills and effort to a common cause. A player is a person who involves themselves, for themselves, in an arena from which they realise gain - significantly different?

Should a Leader Create Players or Followers
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
I think Tom actually summarizes in the word 'players' what kind of followers great leaders will create.
Certainly when you compare them with coercive, bullying or commanding leaders who will create 'followers' more in the meaning of passive, obeying people, almost like slaves, which will only do what is demanded from them, and only for as long as the coercion persists and without own initiative.

Players and Followers
Tom Wilson, HR Consultant, United States, Premium Member
@Jaap de Jonge (Editor): I will stipulate to your comment, Mr. De Jonge, because it captures the essence of my experience. My point is that players and followers are different categories, one being instrumental and one not. Even leaders assume the role of "follower" in appropriate circumstances, but the difference I mean is the boundary between the members of an athletic enterprise, for example, and the fans on the sidelines. The argument could be made that the fans share the vision of victory as the players on the field, but their contribution, as such, depends on the players showing up to play.
I mean, one of the dimensions of recruiting players is recognizing this potential in followers and then nurturing it once they are absorbed into the boundaries of the team. The player dimension is a quality unto itself that is not leadership, per se, but is complimentary to the leadership dimension. The role of the leader is, to no small degree, getting the players moving.

How Overseers Should Lead and Create Followers from the Bible
Christian D. Clores, Director, Philippines, Member
I once sought for the answer to your question and found the following to be effective: to become a good leader, and to be followed by your followers, we should be a good follower also of the ultimate leader. In order to do that that we should have the character described in Timothy 3:2-4 (NET):
3:2 The overseer then must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, 3 not a drunkard, not violent, but gentle, not contentious, free from the love of money. 4 He must manage his own household well and keep his children in control without losing his dignity.

True Leaders of the Bible
Tom Wilson, HR Consultant, United States, Premium Member
@Christian D. Clores: Aside from Jesus, the clearest example of "the overseer" in the Gospels is the centurion who approaches Jesus in Matthew 8 with the petition to heal his slave. This is one of the few times Jesus is astonished regarding the issue of faith, in this case, a gentile, of who He exclaims "Not in all of Israel have I found such faith". And, of course, it is Cornelius, a centurion, that provides the outlet for what is essentially a jewish sect into a universal religious movement..
The centurions, like the modern NCO, were the absolute core of the legions and, hence, the Roman republic. Their military virtues include all those cited by Paul, but include the virtue most prized by Jesus: Love (Greater love hath no man but that he lay down his life for his friends). This is the nature of valor within a context of duty, that is, the virtues Paul cites.

The “true Follower” is a Player
Tom Wilson, HR Consultant, United States, Premium Member
@Andrew Blaine: We are talking about leadership development. Your concept of the “true leader” suggests that leadership development is a process of a special anointing (Editor: ~gloryfying) that only you can provide just to become a “true follower: I consider leadership development to be the process of the midwife exposing the existing dimensions of leadership in the true follower.
I don’t have to create “true followers”: I am not seeking disciples who require initiation into the esoteric arts of leadership: I am seeking self-aware collaborators, players, in a common purpose. Followers are a given. I have no interest in defending my status as a leader: my authority emerges from the task at hand.
That's the point of the Mission,Men,Self ethos of the servant leader. You were in the military: you were subject this imperative.
The difference between the centurion who approached Jesus in Matthew 5 - 13 and Jesus is that the centurion was under a legal authority attached to his warrant and issued by Rome while Jesus was under an authority arising from an aesthetic. Nevertheless, the centurion recognized the authority of Jesus as similar in nature to his own authority: the centurion's task was defined by Rome and Jesus' task is defined by God. And Jesus was totally amazed by this understanding of the nature of Duty: "Not in all of Israel have I found such faith" which, as you say, is not born of ego or status or followers, but of the task.

How Leaders Influence Followers through the use of Nonverbal Communication
Anneke Zwart, Student (University), Netherlands, Moderator
Although attention has often been paid to the way that leaders influence and direct their followers through means of VERBAL communications, a leader’s emotions – exhibited through NON-VERBAL communication – also can influence followers.
Some claim that this type of communication is actually playing a considerable role in influencing followers. Thus, it is important to become aware of the specific types of non-verbal communications – particularly hand gestures – so as to increase the probability of acceptance of a leaders’ verbal message.
In his research, Temple (2015) experimentally studied in what ways specific hand gestures influenced leader-folllower immediacy and followers’ perception of leader attraction. In this study, three types of different hand gestures were distinguished:
1. POSITIVE HAND GESTURES: community hands (hands that show the palm face up or to the ground); humility hands (clasps hands in front of the leader); steepling hands (hands in the form of a steeple with fingertips touching).
2. DEFENSIVE HAND GESTURES: hands in the pockets; crossed arms; hands behind the leaders’ back.
3. NO/NEUTRAL HAND GESTURES: This means that there are no particular hand gestures, which means that the leaders’ hands are at his side.

This study revealed that positive hand gestures specifically led to significantly higher immediacy levels than no-hand gestures or defensive hand gestures. Thus, more immediacy can be developed by using particular positive hand gestures. Furthermore, by controlling negative and neutral hand gestures, leaders are able to minimize non-immediacy feelings of followers. Thus, only small changes in non-verbal communication can greatly affect the chance that followers will accept or reject a certain intervention proposed by the leader. In Temple’s words: ‘words alone do not create the dialogue’.

Source, Temple, L.T.S. (2015) “How Leaders Influence Followers through the Use of Nonverbal Communication” Leadership and Organization Development Journal Vol. 36 Iss.1 pp. 69-80.

POINT TO THE SKY when Communicating your Mission
Javier Elenes, Business Consultant, Mexico, Member
@Anneke Zwart You are right, so be sure to point to the sky, to the peak of the mountain, to move your arms like eagle wings, when you communicate your pulling mission.


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