A Critical Doer Understands Following
“Charge It” …you may be thinking from the title that this post will address fiscal responsibility on Christmas shopping. Although it’s a message that never goes out of season, I want to discuss something quite different with you.
In my previous post and many others on this blog, we’ve covered what leaders owe their organizations in order to make them successful. We’ve covered the moral obligation leaders have to invest in people to open doors to fulfillment while pursuing objectives that create value and a competitive advantage for organizations. But here’s an interesting question…does the capacity for “servant followership” increase a leader’s capacity for “servant leadership?” Unequivocally, yes it does.
When we write about the relationship between leaders and followers, we often describe the relationship as if it were a DC power circuit. If you recall from your basic physical science class, DC power starts from a source like a battery and flows one way through a circuit. The system does not recharge and when the power is depleted, work ceases.
On the other hand, AC power is bidirectional in a circuit and it can replenish a DC power source if it is part of a system. In your car, DC power is pulled from a battery to start the engine. Upon ignition, the alternator supplies AC power to run the car and it also replenishes the electricity pulled from the battery for the start. With two-way flow of energy, the system is self-sustaining
Leaders are analogous to a DC power source. The physical, intellectual, and emotional demands on those in leadership positions can be taxing without replenishment. If the relationship with the members of an organization is simply a pull from the leader without anything in return, that leader will burn out and it will be to his/her own detriment as well as the organization’s detriment. As much as we hate to admit it…we’re all human.
As followers, we have to understand our contribution to an organization’s leadership climate. Healthy organizations do not have a culture of entitlement that resembles the one-way flow of DC power. Followers play an important role in creating a self-sustaining system of leadership that maintains a high level of energy and consistently outpaces competitors. There are three ways we can practice “servant followership” and improve the overall leadership climate in an organization.
- Say “thank you.” Leaders are expected to say thanks to followers to show their appreciation. Followers in turn should say thanks to their leaders in acknowledgment of their efforts to successfully guide organizations and do right by people. “Thank you” is one of the most powerful phrases ever created. The phrase doesn’t cost money and validating the worth of another human’s contribution is the most powerful motivator I know.
- Be attentive. When a leader is talking about challenges or opportunities, listen carefully and make it your business to contribute to the solution. Too often we get wrapped around the axle with petty thoughts about ownership of the idea or who is getting credit. To achieve at the level of a Critical Doer, don’t hesitate to invest in someone else’s idea if it will support organizational goals. If you want support when your time comes…freely give it to others.
- Goal alignment. “Nesting” is a common technique for aligning goals to support a strategy or overall organizational objectives. Take a good luck at what you’re doing an honestly assess whether those activities are helping or hindering accomplishment of larger organizational goals. If they are not, it’s a great opportunity to make a change and create a healthier leadership climate.
Your challenge is to take a look at a situation at home or work and see where you can improve the leadership climate through “servant followership.” Recognize that followers have a tremendous impact upon sustaining a high-energy leadership relationship that consistently delivers a competitive advantage. Put the three steps of “servant followership” in motion with the same diligence you expect from a “servant leader” …both you and your organization will prosper.
So don’t let your organization burn out…charge it! It’s what a Critical Doer would…do!
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