DEVELOPING CAPABLE FOLLOWERS

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Behind the success of every great leader is the support, hard work and invisible struggle of many unknown people who are known as the ‘followers’. Without the support and commitment of good followers the birth of great personalities like Alexander the Great, Nelson Mandela, Umar Bin Khatab etc. and so many others would have been unimaginable. I also believe that many leaders who could have become as great or even greater than the one mentioned here, miserably failed and did not rise because of the lousy followers they had. Management gurus and leadership experts have written volumes on leaders and the theories of leadership. Theories such as traits theory of leadership, Transformational leadership, Charismatic leadership, and so many other theories have in greater length discussed the topic of leadership. However very little has been written about the qualities of these unknown soldiers who commit their hearts and souls to achieve their leaders goals. Almost every leader in one way or the other owes his/her success to these followers. Without their help no leader can achieve success. I also strongly believe that no doubt we need excellent leaders to take us to the future, but we also need good followers to help these leaders realise their dreams. For them to be called good followers they need to possess certain qualities which will be mentioned in this article.

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It is one of the duty of a good leader to develop and hone the skills of his followers or subordinates.

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leader, the Group Members (FOLLOWERS) Situational variables. F= functions of L= leader characteristics. Gm= group members, S= internnal and external situations

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1- UNDERSTAND, SUPPORT, AND WORK FOR THE LEADER’S VISION Followers should understand and accurately comprehend their leader’s vision. They must also commit themselves to support that vision. One difficulty which could crop in this regard is the possibility of conflict between the followers and a leader’s vision. To plug this gap followers should align their vision with that of their leader’s. Not only that, but followers must also work very hard to achieve and realise the leader’s vision. They must own the leader’s vision and take it on themselves to make it happen. 2- HELP THE LEADER TO SUCCEED: Followers can either be like fuel providing energy or roadblocks creating hurdles for the efforts of a leader. Good followers however help the leader to succeed and do whatever it takes to achieve success. Having a winner’s mentality and deriving pleasure form the leader’s success is a quality to be possessed by them. 3- POVIDE OPEN, HONEST AND ACCURATE INFORMATION: Most of the leaders base their decisions on the information provided to them by their followers. If these information are accurate and honest it will lead to good decision. Conversely, in-accurate and dishonest information will lead to terrible decisions. History is full of many sad examples where leaders made terrible decision because of the wrong and dishonest advice of people surrounding them. The invasion of Cuba by USA, the onslaught of Afghanistan by Russia and many other disastrous decisions were made mainly due to lousy information submitted by incompetent followers. It is also necessary to mention here that all information provided to a leader by a follower may not be good news or pleasant. At times certain information will be upsetting but a good follower must forewarn the leader and need act as their mind guards. 4- A POSITIVE AND CAN DO ATTITUDE: The phrase ‘recruit for attitude and train for skills’ is highly relevant for all followers. Sometimes when faced with difficulties even great leaders lose hope- during which times the followers could help them by reminding and reassuring them that they could succeed. It is a fact that all human being are capable of doing anything but only those succeed who possess the can do attitude. It is equally true that a person’s altitude is determined by his/her attitude. As such good followers must possess positive and a can do attitude. 5- LEARNING ATTITUDE: Learning, the ability to understand one’s limitations, the courage to unlearn negative ideas and beliefs and the desire to acquire new knowledge, skills, and attitude is yet another quality necessary for good followers. To keep pace with the fast changing world of today people need to update themselves with new knowledge. The absence of a learning attitude on the part of a follower can have misfortunate consequences for everyone and their organisations.

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Robert E. Kelley, a prominent social scientist in followership studies, have charcterised followers having certain qualities and characteristics

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Followers can be divided into 5 categories and the most desirable category is the exemplary follower. Let us review each of them

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Leaders set visions of a better future and their followers create conditions for realising them. The critical role which followers play in the rise or fall of their leaders necessitates that all followers must have the qualities of a good follower. Are you a leader or a follower? If you are a leader search for or create followers having these qualities. But if you are a follower and possess these qualities congratulate yourself and always remember that “GOOD FOLLOWERS MAKE GREAT LEADERS’’.

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DEVELOPING CAPABLE FOLLOWERS FOR LEADERSHIP AND SENIOR MANAGEMENT ROLES DR ADALAT KHAN President MINA MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE 119- Jalan Kampar, 30250, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia. TEL: 605-2415722 FAX: 605-2536943 Internet-E-mail: http://www.mina.edu.my E-mail: mina@streamyx.com or dradalat@gmail.com

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“Good leaders… abandon their ego to the talents of others.” Max DePree American writer

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Followers and leaders both orbit around the organization’s purpose; followers do not orbit around the leader!

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LEADERSHIP FORMULA L = f (l, gm, s) This formula means that the leadership process is a functions of the leader, the Group Members (FOLLOWERS) Situational variables. The model states that leadership effectiveness can best be understood by examining its key variables: leader characteristics and traits, leader behavior and style, group member characteristics, and the internal and external environment. The four sets of variables are interrelated, with some linkages stronger than others. An example of a strong link is that leader characteristics and traits affect leader behavior and styles.

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WEST POINT THEORY FOLLOWERSHIP IS THE FIRST STEP TO LEADERSHIP “ABLE LEADERS EMERGE FROM THE RANKS OF ABLE FOLLOWERS.”

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Ira Chaleff, in The Courageous Follower, notes that the term follower “conjures (creates) up images of docility, conformity, weakness, and failure to excel. Often, none of this is the least bit true. The sooner we move beyond these images and get comfortable with the idea of powerful followers supporting powerful leaders, the sooner we can fully develop and test models for dynamic, self-responsible, synergistic relationships in our organizations.”

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Some Astonishing Observations On average, leaders contribute no more than 20 percent to the success of most organizations Followers are critical to the remaining 80 percent The only time followers follow the leader is when the leader’s orbit and the follower’s orbit are in synch Most people, whatever their title, spend more time working as followers than as leaders (more time reporting to people than having people report to us)

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QUALITIES OF EXCELLENT FOLLOWERS

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QUALITIES OF EXCELLENT FOLLOWERS Understand, support, and work for the VISION. Help the leader to succeed. Provide open, honest and accurate information. A positive and CAN-DO attitude. Learning attitude.

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The Five Dimensions of the Courageous Follower Ira Chaleff introduces the idea of the “courageous” follower: The courage to assume responsibility The courage to serve The courage to challenge The courage to participate in organizational change The courage to leave LET US DEVELOP COURAGEOUS FOLLOWERS!!!

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Qualities Followers Expect from Leaders Honesty Forward-looking Inspiring Competent Fair-minded

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Exemplary Followers Expect Their Leaders to... Embrace exceptional followers as partners and co-creators Partnership means sharing information Partners co-create the vision and mission Partners share the risks and the rewards Create environments where exceptional followers flourish Be less a hero and more a hero maker

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Types of Followers Pragmatic followers Alienated followers Comformist Passive followers Exceptional followers

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PRAGMATIST FOLLOWER INDEPENDENT CRITICAL THINKING DEPENDENT UNCRITICAL THINKING PASSIVE PARTICIPATION ACTIVE PARTICIPATION KELLEY’S FOLLOWERSHIP STYLES

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INDEPENDENT THINKING DEPENDENT THINKING PASSIVE PARTICIPATION ACTIVE PARTICIPATION KELLEY’S FOLLOWERSHIP STYLES

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INDEPENDENT THINKING DEPENDENT THINKING PASSIVE PARTICIPATION ACTIVE PARTICIPATION KELLEY’S FOLLOWERSHIP STYLES

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INDEPENDENT THINKING DEPENDENT THINKING PASSIVE PARTICIPATION ACTIVE PARTICIPATION KELLEY’S FOLLOWERSHIP STYLES

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INDEPENDENT THINKING DEPENDENT THINKING PASSIVE PARTICIPATION ACTIVE PARTICIPATION KELLEY’S FOLLOWERSHIP STYLES PRAGMATIST FOLLOWERS NOT ENGAGED DO NOT MAKE SUBSTATANTIAL CONTRIBUTIONS FOLLOWS THE CORPORATE WIND

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INDEPENDENT THINKING DEPENDENT THINKING PASSIVE PARTICIPATION ACTIVE PARTICIPATION KELLEY’S FOLLOWERSHIP STYLES

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PRAGMATIST FOLLOWER INDEPENDENT THINKING DEPENDENT THINKING PASSIVE PARTICIPATION ACTIVE PARTICIPATION KELLEY’S FOLLOWERSHIP STYLES

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The Pragmatic Follower Positive: Keeps things in perspective Plays by the rules and regulations Negative: Plays political games Risk averse and prone to cover their tracks Carries out assignments with middling enthusiasm Believes that: Staying within the rules is important Should try to avoid uncertainty and instability

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The Alienated Follower Positive: Mavericks who think for themselves Plays the devil’s advocate Negative: Troublesome, cynical Not a team player Believes that: Their leader does not fully recognize or utilize their talents Extreme cases: Saboteur

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The Conformist Positive: Accepts assignments easily Trusts and commits to the team and the leader Seeks to minimize conflict Negative: Lacks own ideas Unwilling to make unpopular decisions Averse to conflict Believes that: Following the established order is more important than outcomes

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The Passive Follower Positive: Relies on the leader’s judgment and thinking Seldom resists Negative: Just putting in their time, little else Requires an inordinate amount of supervision Believes that: The organization doesn’t want their ideas The leader is going to do what he/she wants anyway

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The Exceptional Follower Positive: Contributes above and beyond Seeks to add value and assist others Negative: Highly idealistic; can suffer disillusionment Burnout Believes that: Their contribution is important … even essential

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10 KEYS FOR GAINING COMMITMENT Reward and Recognition. Provide growth opportunities. Respect and boosting self esteem. Provide vision and get it supported. Mutual commitment- Leader commitment equally important. Empowerment. Hiring the right people. Work-life balance. Provide good working environment. Out of the way help.

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LET US BE HEROES MAKERS AND NOT HEROES ALL THE TIME

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PROPHET MUHAMMAD SAW “Each of you is a shepherd, and all of you are responsible for your flocks.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim)

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Any Questions ??

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