How to Inspire People to ‘Follow the Leader’  

You don’t have to be an agency owner to be a leader. You may be a business development manager, the coach of your child’s Little League team, or a parent. You need not be an industry leader to demonstrate leadership at your own personal or professional level.

So, who are the best leaders, and how do you become a leader people would want to follow?

You should think about what makes followable leaders tick. In general, there are certain traits leaders share. They are:

  • Competence Competent leaders know how to do their jobs well. They are rational, and they base their decisions on data and facts. They have good business and financial sense and keep their egos in check. Leaders have vast, accurate knowledge of their jobs and their organizations, and they know what the organization needs to succeed. And they provide good insights based on their experience.
  • Goodwill Leaders who possess goodwill are people-oriented, can communicate well, and find value in others. They genuinely want others to succeed. They enjoy people and are happy to be excellent resources. They want to guide and serve their people — not the other way around.
  • Integrity Leaders with integrity are trustworthy, dependable, and consistent. They do what they say they’re going to do. They are fair and always apply the same rules to everyone without picking any favorites. They have high moral principles and are sincere and honest. They are good people with good values. They always do the right thing, and they lead by example.

You also should consider the requisite skills to be a leader whom people want to follow. They include:

  • The ability to guide and sustain the organization Leaders must know — and their actions must reflect — their organization’s mission, vision, and values. Leaders discuss them with their followers and base all decisions on these concepts. They constantly seek to be innovative and agile and to improve the processes used in their organizations.
  • The ability to communicate well with followers Leaders get to know their followers’ personalities, interests, strengths, and weaknesses. They motivate and inspire by regularly offering praise and recognition. They readily give — and receive — candid and sincere feedback, and they strive to provide clear and concise direction to keep all the followers moving in the direction that benefits the organization. They also must be willing to just shut up and listen from time to time.
  • The ability to encourage high performance Leaders must clearly explain goals and objectives so their followers will have a firm grasp on what they should be doing. Leaders must follow up and guide, if necessary. They also must have a reasonable system of reward and punishment based on performance. And they should regularly give performance evaluations that include feedback. People cannot improve unless they know what they are doing wrong. And followers who exceed expectations will not continue to do so unless they receive praise or recognition for their accomplishments.

If you have these traits and want to acquire these skills, you can become a followable leader.

Today’s Hot Tip Tuesday was taken from the Becoming an Excellent Leader module in The Travel Institute’s Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE) course. To learn how to develop effective leadership and other skills, enroll today in the CTIE program.