Two Ways of Getting Followership
Jul 15, 2012
A human can be made to follow another human in one of two ways.
- When followership is not a long term requirement, using strategies to engineer such followership are effective. Usually such followership never lasts beyond a short period of time.
- Leaders who get automatic followership do not really spend much time thinking about obtaining it. However, they do need followers for their mission to be effective in large scale. Usually they stick to their mission and inspire using their thoughts, actions and results they are able to demonstrate. Followership is automatic.
There are good examples for strategies that force followership:
A politician who needs a short term win (a vote) throws goodies at other gullible humans. Traffic police effectively use fear of a potential future accident and permanent disabilities by citing real life examples to amplify the probabilities to make us wear helmets. A manager uses the fear of performance appraisal to extract desired behavior at work. Product companies use attractive discounts or freebies to attract people to their inferior products. Marketing companies leverage hope effectively to sell beauty products. In all these cases followership is obtained in the short term. Once the pressure (stimulus) is off or some other stimulus starts overpowering, the followership disappears.
Following are the examples of inspirational leadership:
Those who started following Mahatma Gandhi on the fight for India’s freedom started doing so on their own because the aspiration was a shared one and the mission along with the approach was inspiring. When you read a book non-stop from front page to last page, you voluntarily choose to follow the author’s thoughts because you are inspired. For those of you who believe in visiting a favorite temple frequently, does that behavior occur because there is some force acting on you or because you enjoy doing so? Some people can not shake off that habit because the experience is truly inspirational. However, we must admit, some people do it only out of fear and are very mechanical about doing so. We are not talking about such mechanical behavior. Thirukkural (2 line poems by an ancient tamil poet) inspires and has many voluntary followers even after the author is gone for thousands of years. Again there are those who follow and preach Thirukkural for rhetoric. We are not talking about such people here.
True leadership is inspirational and enjoyable. It triggers automatic followership.