Are you easy to follow as a leader?
I might ask – are you followable?
Followable may not be a Scrabble approved word – or even a word, but the application and the intent of the word is huge.
Leaders who are easy to follow inspire people to join them on a journey and they develop loyalty from their team.
A couple of good questions to ask yourself:
- Do people want to follow my lead?
- Why would they want to follow me?
The best example I know of an easy to follow leader is Jesus. Considering some of the reasons He was able to develop such loyalty among the people He led helps us learn why He was easy to follow.
7 qualities of an easy to follow leader:
Has a vision worth following
A leader needs a vision which lasts beyond today. There needs to be an element of faith and risk to motivate followers. The vision needs to take people somewhere they want to go, but aren’t sure how to get there. It needs to be a “bigger” reality than people are experiencing today.
(Do I have to make that point for Jesus?)
Willing to lead the way
A leader who is easy to follow is willing to go first. They pave the way.
(Jesus went first. He suffered first. He challenged the tired, worn out system first. Others could follow, because He led by example.)
Remains steadfast with integrity
Even through difficult days, a followable leader stays the course and keeps his or her character in tact. Followers know they can depend on the, resolve, strength and fortitude of the leader during the darkest hours.
(Jesus remained sinless all the way to the Cross!)
Displays grace and patience
A followable leader extends grace and forgiveness when mistakes are made. They pace the team until the team is ready for greater challenges. They equip the team with the proper training and resources to complete assignments.
(Jesus gave His disciples, and everyone He met, much grace.)
Challenges followers with high expectations
People want to follow someone who sets the bar for achievement high. There’s no intrinsic value in following easy-to-attain goals.
(Jesus pushed the disciples beyond what they thought they could do. Recall Peter walking on water?)
Practices humble servanthood
To be followable, a leader should display humility and be a servant of others, especially those he or she is supposed to be leading.
(Jesus washed the disciples feet.)
Places energy into others
Followable leaders consistently invest in other people. They give real authority and responsibility as they encourage and develop other leaders. They even replace themselves in key positions.
(Jesus sent the disciples out and He’s left His church in our hands.)
Would you follow a leader with such qualities?
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Join the discussion 22 Comments
Not sure if you’ve read my book, called The Easy to Follow Leader. Good Stuff. If you reach out to me I’ll get you a complimentary copy. Kris Mailepors
I haven’t read it. Thanks for commenting.
Great article Ron! Teamwork and mentoring are qualities that are somewhat covered in your last two points: "Practice humble servanthood" and "Place energy into others". Also, your article at https://ronedmondson.com/2015/09/7-attributes-… touches on this as "Releases more control".
Leaders should not just delegate, but also really empower people, otherwise the leader can be controlling and end up limiting the team. Over time a controlling leader will often loose their best people and find out they are left with team of "yes" people that may limit the team's growth, or the team may struggle to be successful without the leader. We are called to multiply, and delegation can help by adding to the team, but empowerment has a better chance of multiplication!
Paul is a good example of team leader. Although Paul is the leader, in places like 1 Thessalonians, he talks about the apostles’ ministry in the plural as “we”. Silas, Timothy, and many other people played a key role the ministry accomplishments. When you look at the long list of Paul’s ministry helpers in the NT and all that they accomplished, you will realize he had a lot of help. Ministry is a team effort!
In the NT we see Paul mentoring Timothy who not only helps Paul to be successful, but Timothy is also being discipled and prepared for more leadership. A good team thrives even when the leader can't be there in the short term, as the team understands the vision and the strategy, they are empowered, and those being mentored can step in to fill any short term gap. Paul followed Jesus’ example in 2 Tim 2:2 and his reproduction was infinite: Paul -> Timothy -> Faithful Men -> Others, etc…
I’d concur with each of these qualities with the caveat that followership (another non-scrabble word) require equally valuable qualities. Jesus was the perfect leader, but most people chose not to follow him.
These are wonderful training which I strongly recommend that every leader should be able to get, as for me I would like to improve on number 4, that is,Display Patients.
Yes Ron! I need to concentrate more on practicing humble servanthood.
I tend to avoid leading the way. I like working alone and don’t like working with a group of people. Leading a group wears out my introverted self. Plus I get easily frustrated with lack of follow through in others. Not sure what I’m going to do with this realization, but there it is.
Great list, and a great bar to set for myself.
I have to work on truly challenging people with high expectations. What seems like high expectations to me sometimes seems burdensome to them. I need to learn more about how to do that well.
Thanks for your honesty Loren.
Yep, I see Jesus in these.
Yep. I'd follow a leader with these qualities.
As a teacher, I'm working on trying to get my students to see the value of their education–to get the big picture of why we have to learn what we're learning. Because we're usually pressed for time, it's often too easy to get bogged down in getting the content taught that they lose the vision.
I also need to work on the patience one. I teach 7th grade math. Enough said. =)
I would say that would try your patience 🙂
Suggestion: read the Dave Ramsey book. Financial peace. It may not look relevant for your students. But some concepts can demonstrate the importance of mathematical knowledge. Shirley Bocook, MS