How to Be an Influential Follower (Part 2)

Lead your boss


In the first part of this series we discussed serving and exceeding the expectations of your leader. There are powerful results when you chose to be an influential follower. It not only positively impacts your direct supervisor but those higher in the chain of command. Influencing your boss can allow you to be seen as a key person in your organization. Here are 2 more ways to be an influential follower:

1. Encourage your leader

Every leader needs to be encouraged. Formal Actors Celeste Holm’s said, “We live by encouragement and die without it.” Often, everyone can be working toward the purpose and goals of the organization that they fail to see everything the leader is doing. The work of a leader can go unrecognized. The leader’s job can be stressful and demanding causing a leader to be drained and at times discouraged.

Encouragement from followers can cause a leader to remain driven, motivated, and energized. Take regular time to recognize and speak kind or encouraging words to your leader. Choose your words in a way that will inspire and uplift them. Influence your leader by creating positive and good feelings for them through your words.

2. Remain committed to your leader

You should be completely committed to your leader. Being committed means you trust and are loyal to your leader. You support and have your leaders back. It’s easy to be committed in front of your leader but it’s another thing to remain committed when your leader is not around. When it’s only you and fellow followers remain committed to your leader.

When you hear people gossip or criticize your leader make sure to stop them and let them know you support them. Your commitment will spread around and get back to your leader. When your leader sees your dedication and commitment, your influence with them will increase. The exception is if your leader does something unethical. If this happens you should not support or commit yourself to the wrong choices they are making.

Question: What would you add, how can a person be an influential follower?

Subscribe to Dan Black on Leadership to receive fresh leadership content delivered to you inbox. PLUS two free quote books. All you need to do is to enter your email in the box below then push “Subscribe”:

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

11 thoughts on “How to Be an Influential Follower (Part 2)

  1. Hi, Dan. There are many ways to support a leader. Protect him/her against the wrongful critiques, allow him/her to be evolved (even if you don’t agree on the direction), to let him/her develop his/her vision, try not to interpret him/her, and many more.

    BUT, there is an undeniable relationship neither of you (leader and follower) should never forget. The your relationship is interactive and each one depends on the movement of other (like a reflection game or like tango). So everyone should look upon the movement of other part and try to rapport on what he/she sees. Moreover everyone should have in mind that leadership is a dynamic relationship (not a static one) and need deep though, clear headed acceptance and a “know thy self” attitude to guide your steps.

  2. Encouragement is so important for everyone. I think sometimes we don’t realize the power of an encouraging word, especially to those who seem “above us”. Even leaders with good self esteem can need encouragement.

  3. First, I’ll play a bit off of Takis’ comment, it does take two to tango. Followers should encourage leaders, but leaders should receive encouragement. So often, people sort of refuse encouragement by saying they don’t deserve, or they make some self-deprecating joke. It’s hard to encourage a leader when he does that. If nothing else, a simple “thank you” is in order. Second, I want to say a bit about your comment of not supporting or committing yourself to a leader’s wrong choice. I agree in that we must stick to our convictions no matter what. However, when a reader does make a wrong choice, that can be the time they need a follower’s encouragement the most. In other words, be there for them when they mess up and be an encourager as they are, hopefully, restored. Last thought… Learning to be a good follower is so essential in our leader-oriented culture. I think it’s highly neglected too. I’m glad you’re taking some time to focus here.

    • Hi Kari,

      Perfect point! We have to accept the encouragement of others. I’d also add make sure our followers know how much we appreciate it and how much it means to us.

      I hear what you are saying Kari. When our leader makes the wrong choice or messes up we need to support and encourage them. In what I wrote I was referring to when a leader does something unethical like intentionally steal, lie, or cheat instead of making the best decision but it ends up failing. It also depends on the attitude of the leader like if they are humble and repentant for what they have done. I’m more prone to stand by a leader who is sincerely repentant for what they have done verses one who attempts to cover it up or does not take ownership.

      Glad you enjoyed this post, I think it’s a topic I’ll wrote more about in the future.