Saturday, April 24, 2010

What Followers Want

The blog theme for April is Empowerment and how we feel empowered in the church.

One way we are empowered as women in the church is the leadership opportunities that come our way...leaders as parents in the home and leaders as perhaps the only church member in our extended families. The experience and skills we gain through callings in the church prepare us for leadership at school and in the workplace as well. So, it’s important for all of us to understand what makes the right kind of leader and to try to emulate those qualities.

Lest you think I’m being presumptuous about knowing what followers want, I’ve just been reading several leadership books lately for work, so I’ve been pondering leadership and following.

I read a lot of business books and some of them are a whole lot You know empty rhetoric, nonsense.

So I have to “test” them for truth, usually by seeing if I can apply the principles elsewhere.

In the book, Strengths-based Leadership, I have found some thoughts that ring true.

Each time I've read a statement I’ve thought about my roles as a leader at work, as a mother, and as church worker. I think about those who lead our country, our communities, my workplace, the church, and think about my husband.

Effective leaders
The most effective leaders understand their follower’s needs

At work this is not always evident. Sometimes managers have personal agendas, and some know how to turn a phrase or work a room, but overlook the real needs of their team.

At church it is clear. Our leaders are ordinary people like us and so they understand the ups and downs of life. And, as an added bonus, they can be and are guided by revelation and inspiration in our behalf.

As a parent it is a must. You soon learn what each child will do in a given situation. You come to know what their weaknesses and strengths are and what they need from you as a parent.

Followers know what they need from a leader
A Gallup poll, conducted with more than 10,000 followers, asked, “What leader has the most positive influence in your daily life?” and then “List 3 words that best describe what this person contributes to your life.” (Try it yourself before reading on.)

No, the tops words weren’t vision, wisdom, humility or humor.

Followers need trust, compassion, stability and hope.

Think about it. Isn’t that what you want from a good leader?

Think about the leaders in your life...Jesus Christ, church leaders, bishops you’ve had through the years, and your parents. Think about the head of the PTA, your professor, your employer, the leaders of our country.

Think about yourself. Yes, we are all leaders in some way or other. And we could all do with a little more practice in the things that count to those who follow us.

How do you create more trust, compassion, stability and hope in your lives and for those that follow you? I’d love to hear.

(To be continued)

[Read part 2 then part 3.]


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1 comment:

  1. I have very little experience from being a "leader" except for when I was hired to manage a temple dress store years ago. It was the first time that someone had simply handed me the reins of leadership and let me go to it, and I never even had time to be nervous or scared...I just got started. And I found out alot about myself because I could not lead by authority. I simply cared about my employees and tried my best to get to know each of them and care for them and lead alongside them. In turn, they ended up working harder and better because they wanted to make ME look better to the owners.

    It was remarkable how much better the store did (accoreding to sales), and the owners were so thrilled at how much money we were making for them that they completely let me make all decisions for our little store -- which made me happy too!

    I think leadership styles are fascinating to learn and study, so I love that you're delving into this on here Ellen!


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