February 22, 2015

The unappreciated follower

John F. Kennedy once said in his speech that victory has a thousand fathers but defeat is an orphan. That comment is not only limited to the battlefield but also to our daily lives as well as the corporate culture prevalent from as long as I can remember. During these two weeks filled with exercises and simulations, the same trend could be observed but not in its usual announced manner. Any team that failed had a leader that was subtly attributing the defeat to one of the team members but could only be noted with careful observation of their body language. As Paul said, communication is only a relatively small percentage verbal, the rest is body language and the tone of the voice used. A leader needs to own the results of its team’s performance whether it is over the moon or in the ditches. The tone needs to be kept positive and same goes for the body language. Otherwise you will leave behind a demoralised team after the task.


The time given between sessions for coffee usually ends up in an informal cigarette break/reflection session. Numerous times I heard my colleagues, who were team members, say that their leaders complained a lot and probably despised them for the effort they put in because it was obvious from the leader’s response that it wasn’t enough. Even if that were true, the leaders need to give credit where credit is due and not overlook the positives and highlight the negatives. That is what usually leaders do and use bad performance as a form of motivation, but that rarely works. I grew up reading a quotation sticker on the back door of my mother’s office, concealed by curtains, which read “If you do something good no one remembers, if you do something bad no one forgets”. That stuck with me throughout my life to a point where I used to quote it whenever any such situation arose.


The followers give their leaders all their belief, faith, trust and choose to follow them blindly. If after that these people are not appreciated and are shunned aside by their leaders then this is criminal of them. If this trend is followed then you will never succeed with team projects because you have failed as a leader!


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