All entries for Monday 10 May 2010

May 10, 2010

the power of follower

In the interest of integrating last article, I share some of my experience.

People in followers' position always feel reluctant to influence their leaders, so do I. I think I worked short period, do not obtain enough professional experience. When team leader distribute tasks and discuss solutions, I seldom express my ideas. This make middle managers regard me as taciturn man and lower work efficiency. I do not know this until I leave the job. Actually, followers generally have three kinds of power. The first one is skills and talents in professional field, which I mentioned before. The second is to persuade leaders to approve your opinions by means of desired outcome. The third is your position which can make information flow or organize a network of relationship.

Nowadays there exists a perspective 'managing leaders'. When I am working, managers arranged tasks to me in disordered sequence, because they never ever adopt project management ways. They always follow the rule first come first done. I found that if I work in the sequence of their arrangement, sometimes I am fairly busy and sometimes I have nothing to do. So it is important to ask managers their schedule and goal, and then I can arrange the important tasks first rather than the emergent tasks.

We always care too much about ourselves, therefore we often ask managers what we can improve. However, we never consider how to help managers to be good managers. Ask them for advices, and make them think you value their advice. Do not try to deceive them and criticize them behind, sometimes disagreeing their opinion make them trust you more. As a follower it does not mean less power, we can depend of surrounding people not only boss but also colleagues.

To be a successful follower

It is easy to answer the question 'do you have to be a follower before you become a leader'. Yes, definitely. However, this question can be divided into two layers. One is how to become an effective follower, and the other is how an effective follower becomes an effective leader.

Before I came to UK, I never have a chance to become a leader in company, because our company¡¯s culture regards professional skills and age as the major criteria to choose a leader. Young generation criticizes about this structure, some have to leave this company seeking more chances. I am one of them expecting improving my knowledge structure and broaden my vision, but I got a lot of experience to observe all kinds of leader both successful and unsuccessful. I learn a lot from their behavior. From the cooperation with them and the knowledge I learned from here, there are some of my opinions to become an effective follower.

You have to change youself from dependent follower to independent follower, and then to interdependent follower. In order to fulfill this objective, firstly you¡¯d better to be proactive. Try to think about the end in your mind at the beginning, and do important thing first. After you become an independent follower, if you want to influence others, you have to consider about win-win result and understand others first, and then let youself be understood.

It is simple to say it, but hard to carry out. In western culture, people are eager to express their ideas, so they always keep talking and are aggressive to force others to agree. Seldom listen to others, it will happy to us when we are talking. In eastern culture, people always avoid conflicts, they are intended to keep silence all the time, this is a kind of passive mind.

May 2010

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