A great leader is a great follower. In fact, you can’t become a great leader unless you learn to be a great follower first. Merle Crowell, an American author who spent a great deal of time with John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and many other successful leaders said, “It is the men behind who make the man ahead.”
Great leaders rely on their team more so than they rely on themselves. The greatest travesty of leadership is thinking you are above your people. Great leadership understands that a leader supports his/her team above themselves. Leaders are the platform for others to shine on, not the other way around. A leaders who uses his/her team to stand on in order to shine isn’t much of a leader.
Susan Wong, Financial Analyst for Apple said, “Good leaders understand boundaries and are willing to accept sound advice from followers.” If you want to be a great leader start to follow those you lead by doing these 4 things…
1) Listen To Them
You can’t lead others if you don’t listen to them. In my book Leadology I wrote that, “A leader who never listens is a leader that will never be listened to.” To effectively lead others you have to know what makes them tick. You can’t know them unless you ask questions and truly listen to their responses. Great leaders are great listeners.
2) Empower Them
Give others the proper authority and responsibility to make decisions. Insecure leaders withhold power, powerful leaders entrust it to others. The more you allow others to shine the brighter you become. Empowerment comes from transferring your power to another…simple…but not easy.
3) Trust Them
Following your team is all about trusting them. If you can’t trust your team you either have the wrong team, or you haven’t truly let go. By letting go, I mean to rely on their judgment and perspective. If you never change your mind when your team is trying to change it, you need to make sure you are not operating out of a lack of trust towards them.
4) Appreciate Them
When you appreciate others they will appreciate in value. The more you express your gratitude the more they will go above and beyond. People rise to the level of their expectations. If you set high expectations on the front end you’ll get a high return on the back end. Always let your people know how valuable they are to you and your organization.