How to Be a Followable Leader

Leaders and managers need as much education and development as everyone else. One of our jobs at The Travel Institute is to support future and current leaders with tips, ideas, and great content.

Leadership in the travel industry comes in many shapes and forms. It comes in the form of mentoring and coaching new team members. It comes through communicating, building trust and empowering team members, colleagues, clients, and partners. Very importantly, leadership is demonstrated through having a full understanding of your own emotional intelligence. None of this can be successful if you don’t have the right traits, skills, and characteristics. If you are looking to grow your organization and your team as a manager or leader, you must first continue to develop your own skills.

Over the next two months, you will see Hot Tips focusing on leadership and management topics. We are going to start off our Leadership Series with an over-arching topic: What does it mean to be a leader people want to follow?

Think about a manager or leader whom you would follow anywhere. What skills and traits does that person possess? 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.