Jun 11, 2011

Leader? What Your Followers Expect From You?

The easiest way to start active discussion in any Linked In group is to post a question about leadership. Qualities of a leader, definition of leadership, difference between manager and a leader, or similar. Just try it, if you haven't. You will get between 50 and 1400 (mainly different) comments, from (otherwise not very discussion - active) group.


Everyone everywhere offers leadership programs, products, training and/or coaching.

Smart marketers give to market what it wants, (not just what it needs) and if it is mine or your idea of leadership - that's fine.

Definitions are different, lists of ''5, 20, 30, 57 qualities every leader must possess'' are irresistible and unavoidable on dozens of pages I read each day. Not going to even start on quotes.

We still want more answers, want to believe/confirm we ARE the good leaders, or somehow are not yet convinced about what we already now. But...

In a recent Gallup poll, 97% of people randomly surveyed rated their ability to lead at being at or above average.

Sounds good to me. Leadership talk, knowledge, theory, skills or capacity is here. (Not so sure about collective result, but that's another topic.)

Now, what about followers? Your family members, team members, all members of all departments in the organization you lead? People who see you as a leader. What do they think?

What would your people say? I don't mean 360 surveys, leadership assessment, or any formal survey, this time. Could you tell what it is your followers expect from you? What is it that make them see you as their leader? Are you sure you can satisfy their basic needs?

(I already made my point and expectations clear, with my own words in the ''Three Types Of Leaders That Impress Me These Days - What About You?'')

Four Basic Needs Of Your Followers

Here is what researchers have found, i.e. the results of Gallup's ''Why People Follow'' survey.

The following key themes (or basic followers' needs) emerged:

Trust (other words cited by followers included: honesty, integrity and respect)

Compassion (other words cited by followers included: caring, friendship, happiness and love)

Stability (other words cited by followers included: security, strength, support and peace)

Hope (other words cited by followers included: direction, faith and guidance)

Remarkably respondents were all using similar set words to describe what they expect from their (global and business) leaders.

The slightly different question was used for ''organizational'' leaders and global leaders, but the results were very similar. In business smaller percentage of people used word ''caring'' and a larger number used a word ''compassion'' .)

Survey Questions Used For Analysis

Organizational survey question used for analysis

1. What organizational leader has the most positive influence in your life?

2. Now please list three words that best describe what this person contributes to your life?

a. _________________

b. _________________

c. _________________

Global survey question used for analysis

1. What global leader has the most positive influence in your life?

2. Now please list three words that best describe what this person contributes to your life?

a. _________________

b. _________________

c. _________________

What would you say to answer the questions? Have you ever asked your followers, your employees/ people/member or your family or organization/team/group you are leading? Do you care to know?

What are the ways you are matching some of the needs of your people with your actions? What seem the most difficult? I'd say ''stability'' or ''hope''.

Please share.

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