I read an article on Forbes.com recently that I had hoped would rock my proverbial world regarding leadership (and “followership”), but instead it confirmed what I previously discovered.
In her article “5 Leadership Behaviors Loyal Employees Trust”, Meghan Biro notes the importance of loyalty in the leader-follower relationship. Biro wrote that the best way to increase employee loyalty and engagement “requires a near-equal exchange of information about the business’s goals and challenges and a shared sense of the value of work.”
Biro goes on to write that leaders can endear loyalty from their followers by:
- Telling the truth
- Communicating roles and responsibilities
- Creating a workplace culture that values real people relationships
- Being fair and open
- Modeling the behavior they seek
I promise I’m not rolling my eyes and shaking my head in that annoying “I told you so” way, but I’m not surprised by Biro’s assessment. While being a leader isn’t easy (by any stretch of the imagination), you should lead others as an extension of who you naturally are. Generally, some of the most successful leaders I’ve known (or researched) are successful because they naturally extend themselves.
I have a doctorate in organizational leadership, I’ve spoken on leadership for the past 13 years, and I’ve studied & conducted research on the topic. I wish I had a more scholarly and “deep” revelation, but I don’t. The fact is, effective leadership involves employing common sense. As I’ve written previously, it’s important for leaders to model the behavior they expect to see exhibited by their followers; and building a productive organizational culture are paramount to organizational success.
The bottom line is that no one should be surprised that followers endear themselves to leaders who engage them AND engender their loyalty.