What do followers look for in a leader?

Leadership is a topic that has many titles, and many experts.  There are a TON of fantastic ideas available in the form of books, seminars, podcasts, articles.  Leadership is an ongoing journey, and true management is something that is worthy of a life time of study and practice.  Gallup did a survey of 10,000 followers as the basis for the book “Strengths Based Leadership” by Tom Rath.

What was interesting about the study was the fact that the successful leaders who Gallup studied were very different in almost every way.  Matter of fact, they stated in the study “We are yet to find (2) leaders who have the same sequence of strengths”

So what did these leaders HAVE in common?  To get that answer, you have to ask the followers of successful leaders.  There were a lot of different answers, but all the answers generally stated (4) traits that made this group want to follow the successful leaders they worked with.

  1. Trust (honesty, integrity, respect)- This one feature strongly impacts employees engagement.  What was most interesting about the study was the TOP teams rarely spoke of or on trust as a team.  On the contrary, the topic of trust DOMINATED the discussions of struggling teams
  2. Compassion (Caring, Friendship, happiness, love)- The general gist of this trait is that successful leaders have a positive bias.  “There are some leaders when the ENTER the room, the room lights up….there are some leaders when they LEAVE the room the room lights up”
  3. Stability (Security, Strength, Support, Peace)- What followers stated with this trait is that they need to know that your core values are stable.  Stability=Transparency
  4. Hope (Direction, Faith, Guidance)- As a leader, if you are not creating hope and helping people see the way forward, chances are, no one else is

So how do the Clifton Strengfinder Talent Themes fit into these traits?  Great leaders spend time not only developing their dominant talents, but they make sure to take the time to learn the talents of their teams.  Greatness in leadership and management is about putting team members in the best spot to win.  Here is a winning equation you can take to the bank: natural “talents” + Skills/Experience= Strengths.

When team members are doing what they do best, every day, you have happy team members.  Happy team members = better engagement= increased productivity.

Here is to happier, more engaged TEAM members in 2018!

Mike Tobin