LEADER FOLLOWER RELATIONSHIP
xAVIER INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT, BHUBANESWAR
PGDM – RM 1
SUBMITTED TO SUBMITTED BY pROF. f.m. sAHOO sNEHAL sHETTY (47)
Why do people follow leaders? The answer to that question lies within each individual. Everyone follows a leader for his own purposes. Some want to learn what the leader has to teach. Some are inspired by the message/philosophy of the leader and seek to become part of the vision the leader hopes to achieve. Others seek status, power and/or other opportunities as they advance within the leader’s group. Whereas, others might seek to fulfill a need to find themselves through spiritual, psychological or physical growth under the guidance of the leader. Whatever a follower’s needs may be, the leader seems to have the necessary ingredient. There is an old Chinese saying: “When the student is ready, the master will appear.” So, when the master appears, what are the guidelines that should be at the foundation of a healthy leader/follower relationship?
THE LEADER: POINTS TO PONDER
1. PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH
You must be consistent in doing this. Never be above doing what it is that you ask your followers to do. Walk the talk.
2. BE HONEST WITH YOUR FOLLOWERS
Your followers are helping you to achieve your vision. They are following you because they believe in you and in your vision. They are investing in your ability to lead them, mentor them and prepare them to eventually create their own path as. Each follower has certain talents and abilities and they use them in varying capacities. As you organize your followers, you must try to match the talent with the responsibilities. Your followers will display various levels of competence when following through with their responsibility areas. They will make mistakes which is expected. However, if you do not address why the mistake happened and how it can be prevented from happening in the future, your followers will not grow. Many leaders, because they do not want to cause conflict or feel it is easier to fix the problem themselves, hurt their followers by not questioning. Honest feedback on mistakes made and/or performance problems allows the followers to see the reality of their actions through your eyes. It sometimes hurts to hear the truth, but your followers will appreciate your honesty. You should also give an honest assessment of any circumstances that are pending that have an impact upon the group’s ability to move forward in attaining the vision. Covering up the situation only makes it worse when it eventually comes to light. Your followers will feel a breach of trust with you and this will have a detrimental impact upon the future relationship you have with them. Be honest. Enlist their expertise in defining solutions to help to resolve the issue.
3. DON’T CROSS THE LINE
Professional relationships can sometimes turn into personal relationships, sexual relationships and other relationships that are collusive in nature. When this happens, you will lose your objectivity and effectiveness as a leader. You are human and you have physical, emotional, sexual and financial needs just like everyone else. An opportunity arises for you to fulfill your need and then, in a moment of weakness that impairs your judgment, you allow yourself to succumb to the behavior that you know is wrong, but. . . You have compromised your principles and are now at the mercy of your co-conspirator as to if and when the act you committed will be brought to light. You realize you were wrong in what you did. The question now becomes, “What do you do about it?” You cannot undo what you did. You must do whatever it takes to make the situation right.
4. DON’T “KILL THE MESSENGER”
When obstacles arise, you need to hear all of the unpleasant details surrounding the...