Many great leaders started at the bottom & prove themselves in lower level positions, as ‘followers’, before moving into a leadership role.
Do you have leadership potential?
You can determine if you have leadership potential, and so can your boss, by how you act in a subordinate position. So what does it mean to be a good follower, and how do those skills carry over in a leadership capacity?
You have the right outlook
In order to become an effective leader you need to be able to envision yourself as such before you even step into the role. Make an effort to know your place in the organization, and how you can contribute to its success. Know what your coworkers and manager are working on, and position yourself as a ‘self-leader’.
Self-leaders set high standards for themselves and lead by example, demonstrating an exemplary work ethic, open-mindedness, goal orientation, and humility. If you aren’t a leader by position, practicing these traits will make your transition into a positional leadership role much smoother.
Having confidence in your abilities is also beneficial. Showing that you are able to get things done with minimal involvement from your supervisor creates a relationship of mutual trust.
Showing confidence in this way makes you more likely to be an effective leader in your own right, as you will know how to hire competent followers and ensure clear communication channels.
You’re a team player
You can’t be a leader if you don’t know how to work well with others. Being an effective team player means being respected and trusted, without which leadership is impossible. While it’s important to put focus and effort into your own work, it’s also important to know when to step up and help others, and make sacrifices for the good of the team.
Knowing when to accept responsibility and how to handle criticism is also important, as good leaders need to be able to admit when they’ve made mistakes.
If you take the philosophy of ‘you’re only as good as your team’ at work, you will be counted on and noticed as a potential future leader. This type of employee keeps projects on track and smooths conflicts, and will likely inspire committed followers in the future.
You know when to be selective
The best followers don’t follow blindly; they choose who to follow based on the leader’s vision and actions. Think about what you want to embody in your own professional life, and evaluate whether your leader also emulates those values.
When you become a leader yourself, you will have a greater understanding of what your followers value, and how to inspire others to achieve success. You will gain perspective and humility, and be able to pass your vision on to others.
Practicing developing a vision for your career goals as a follower makes you more likely to create a vision as a leader. Great leaders are able to align this vision and unify an organization towards a common goal.
This helps develop focus, allowing you to focus on what’s important rather than getting lost in extraneous detail.
You have leadership competencies
Leadership competencies capture the essence of effective leaders and translate it into measurable behaviors. A great leader embodies a style of transformational leadership that welcomes new ideas and perspectives.
HRSG has a selection of world-class leadership competencies to identify the unique strengths your organization needs from future leaders like you.
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