Thursday, March 4, 2010

Followers COUNT!

Followers COUNT!

We've talked about leaders already. And, by doing so I know that there are some that are thinking that they don't belong in the discussion. Why? "Because I'm a follower, not a leader. I have no desire to be a leader or to be out front!"

That's o.k. and we'll get to you in a moment. But first I want to address the phrase that I used yesterday to launch this discussion: "LEAD, FOLLOW OR GET OUT OF THE WAY!"

We have already talked about leaders and we are about to discuss the follower...but for a moment, let's address the group that simply needs to "get out of the way!".

Again, as I mentioned on the podcast for this discussion, some may think that this phrase is harsh - especially telling ANYONE that they need to move out of the way. That's o.k. too. However, when we come to realize that this process of staying focused with a positive mindset in order for us to move toward our goals and dreams (and help others along the way) is a BATTLE against the negative in our world then you may begin to understand that, sometimes, the approach MUST be "harsh" and tough.

Seriously consider this with me for a moment if you would.

Some in our world LEAD. Some in our world FOLLOW. Now, if you're not willing to do one or the other, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

If you are not willing to lead OR follow then you are not willing to do anything. You are unwilling to MOVE in any direction. You are simply staying put and, to be blunt again, getting in the way!

Here's what I have noticed about this group of people that are unwilling to move in ANY direction... they are not satisfied to do this by themselves. That's right. It's not enough for them that THEY don't want to move but they feel the need to recruit others to join them in their "dead weight" mentality.

They are a great discouragement to ANY leader. Why? Because they will not follow. No matter what is done to try to encourage them to follow or even HELP them to follow - they will not!

They are also a great discouragement to other followers. Why? Because they will not follow. Yes, the same reason that they are a discouragement to the leaders. They WILL NOT follow!

Their refusal to either lead or follow has the tendency to "rub off" on other follower that, perhaps, are "on the fringe". These "fringe followers" have just begun to follow and realize that they are a part of a larger team and that it requires EVERYONE to help out and do their part. But then the "fringe follower" notices the "dead weight" and wonders why they, too, won't follow.

So, guess what happens? The "fringe follower" stops following so that they can have a discussion with the "dead weight" and then, before they realize it, the "fringe follower" has now also become "dead weight".

It happens CONSTANTLY in our world and in companies and businesses all around the world.


Here's what I mean by that. Hey, if you're not willing to be a leader and if you're not willing to be a follower, would you please move yourself to the side of the "track" or the side of the "highway" so that the rest of us can move on toward our journey?

Sit on the sidelines and gripe and complain if that is what you want to dedicate your life to, but, PLEASE, move out of the flow of "traffic" so as not to impede the progress of those that are either leading or following!

Is it possible for the "dead weight" to change and become a follower and even a leader?

YES! But they first must decide that they want to CHANGE their life and CHOOSE to make this change in their life. They must decide first of all that they, too, want to become a follower. Perhaps, one day, they MIGHT become a leader, but not until they learn the value of becoming a follower.

So, yes, I stick by the bluntness of the phrase, "LEAD, FOLLOW or GET OUT OF THE WAY!".

Followers COUNT!

Sometimes in the are of personal development the idea is felt - whether it's intentional or not - that if you are not a leader, you really don't count.

I disagree with that and so do most people that work in this area. Again, if there are no followers there can not be leaders! Leaders MUST have followers in order to lead.

In today's discussion I group followers into two categories: 1. The "no more/no less" follower and 2. The "more than expected" follower

The "no more/no less" follower is the person that does EXACTLY what is asked of them. This is good in that you know if you ask this person to do a task IT WILL BE DONE! You can count on them and KNOW - without having to check on them - that the task will be done and it will be done well. However, they will do that task and NOTHING MORE.

For example, if they are doing their task and they discover along the way that there is also something else that could be done at the same time - a separate, but connected task - they will not do it. Their thought process is something along the lines of, "I wasn't told to do that task. I am going to stick to what I was told to do and not attempt to do anything else."

Sometimes this action is due to fear of doing the "extra task" incorrectly or even fear of being reprimanded for doing something that they were not told to do. And then, sometimes this action is due to a certain level of "laziness" in that they will do ONLY what they have been asked to do and nothing more. If asked, "Why didn't you go ahead and do this extra task when you discovered it?" their answer will likely be, "Because you didn't tell me to."

Although this type of follower CAN be valuable (they do the task and they do it well) they can also be VERY frustrating to the leader. A leader would prefer to have a follower that, yes, will do the task assigned but will also have the drive to do another task IF it is something that can be done and not distract the follower from their original task. This is called "efficiency".

My guess is that, if you are reading this blog and consider yourself a follower as opposed to a leader, you DON'T consider yourself to be THIS kind of follower. That's just my "gut feeling" about someone that is trying to improve their mindset and, thus, their life.

However, IF, being honest with yourself this DOES describe you, I want to encourage you to change your thinking and step out of the "comfort zone" of being a "no more/no less follower". You may feel some unhappiness and restlessness in your life that is likely connected to being this type of follower and you haven't even realized that yet.

Let me encourage you to step out and become the second kind of follower that I'd like to discuss: the "more than expected" follower.

I have three sons (26 - in April; 23 and 19) and I have tried to instill in each of them the idea of "do more than what is expected" as they have had summer jobs. Do what you are told to do and then do more. I have told them that, if they will develop this attitude about their work - ANY work - they will do well and they will be a valuable employee.

THIS is the kind of follower that leaders love!

Yes, just like the "no more/no less" follower, this follower does not have to be constantly checked on to make sure that they are doing the task as assigned, BUT they have the added bonus of taking the initiative to go ahead and do EXTRA tasks found along the way.

Their attitude is, "Hey, here's something that needs to be done. I'm here, I can do it, so why not do it while I'm here and while I can?"

This type of follower is an invaluable asset to ANY organization and EVERY organization MUST have this kind of follower in order to survive and succeed.

Follower - do NOT allow yourself to develop the attitude of, "If you want me to do more than expected then you need to pay me more!" or anything even similar to that. This is the type of negativity that will end up causing you to be a "dead weight" that needs to get out of the way. And, likely, if you develop this type of attitude and allow it to stay for very long you will likely be MOVED out of the way by having your job taken away from you.

YES, followers COUNT!

YES, even if you are not a leader, YOU COUNT and are a vital part of ANY organization!

Take PRIDE in what you do and always strive to be a "more than expected" type of follower. You will be happier in your work and you will gain great pride in your efforts as well.

Oh, and by the way... by doing so, you will also be a leader to the other followers that have not stepped out of the "no more/no less" category.

That's right, you will be a leader, too even if you don't consider yourself to be one.

Crazy cool, huh?

Thanks for taking the time to read this today. If you haven't done so, I invite you to be sure to listen to the podcast available at iTunes (Future You University) or on my website at

And, as always...

"Make it an AWESOME day! (Who else is going to do it for you?)"


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