No matter your position you likely have a boss or person of authority above you. There is a very small amount of leaders who have no one above them. Formal University President Robert Kelley said, “The reality is that most of us are more often followers than leaders. Even when we have subordinates, we still have bosses.” Whether you have a leadership title or not, you have the potential to have influence with your leader. Here are the first two ways to be an influential follower.
1. Serve your leader
William Osler said, “We are here to add what we can, not get what we can from life.” The primary way for us to do this is to serve. Serving produces influence. The most influential followers regularly chose to demonstrate acts of servanthood with those in power above them. Your mindset should be to genuinely serve them with no strings attached. Acts of service could be stepping in to support during times of crisis, asking your boss if you could do anything for them or if they need help with anything, encouraging and publicly praising them, or giving them a gift. Each of these examples of servanthood can increase your level of influence with your boss. The key is to find the ways that would best serve your boss.
2. Exceed the expectations of your leader
Leaders can expect their followers to fulfill the minimum job requirements and job functions. A lot of workers are fine with being an average worker, that is coming to work and doing only what is expected. There are other people who always go above and beyond what is expected of them. These followers constantly over deliver, stay productive, and exceed everyone’s expectations.
In The Leadership Mandate I wrote how you can exceed expectations in a work environment. I suggested, “Requesting or taking on extra work, finding and solving department or organizational problems, volunteering to help with a project or a team member, building team unity, and bringing innovative ideas to your boss or during meetings.” Your goal should be to make your boss marvel with your good work ethics. You will be an influential follower if you do more than what is required of you.
Question: What would you add, how can a person be an influential follower?
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