Retired General Colin Powell shook up the WCA Global Leadership Summit today by challenging leaders to focus on a little talked about aspect of leadership - the importance of "followership."
"You are nowhere without followers who want to follow you," were his exact words. General Powell went on to make three quick points to drive home the importance of great leaders focusing on followership as the secret sauce to solid leadership.
I'm Not Getting The Work Done
Any good leader recognizes that they need their people to get their vision converted to action. But a great leader understands that the work itself is done by his/her followers. Great leaders make no illusions and they recognize and empower their people to the work thy are charged with doing.
Everyone Has A Purpose
Great leaders understand that every person in the organization they lead, no matter the role, is important. Just as an organization has its purpose, so does each individual contributor. It is a great leader who can draw the purpose of each person on their team and ensure they know it.
It's Always About The Followers
Our leadership depends on our followers. No ifs ands or buts - without followers, you are not a leader. So, everything you do as a leader should be about your followers. You must figure out how to build an environment where your followers flourish. You must figure out how to empower every person you lead to get you closer to your organization's goals and objectives.
As we seek to grow as leaders, we'd all bode well to follow in the footsteps of retired General Colin Powell and take time, often, to focus on our followers. Build up our followers as a means of strengthening your leadership.