The Boss Show

Workplace wisdom with heart and humor

May 5, 2011

Making It Real: The Follower-Worthy Boss

By Steve Motenko

Followers choose leaders more than leaders choose followers.  Position or title may make you a boss.  it does not make you a leader.  That you have to earn, not by what you get promoted to, but by how you show up.

You want to become more worthy of followers?  I have one word for you:  Ask.  (and then I have a bunch of other words to unpack that one word …)

  • Ask each of your direct reports, your peers, your supervisors, your spouse, your best friends:
    • In what ways do I show up as a leader?
    • What would I need to work on in order to become the most effective, most evolved leader I can be?

    Do you have the courage to ask this latter question – even if the answers hurt?  The evolved leader stays open to others’ perspectives, even if they don’t soothe his ego.  Commit that you’ll only listen, and if necessary ask for more clarification – without defensiveness, without your own stories, without pushback.  (And by the way, the question, “Why would I want to listen to a loser like you?” is not a request for clarification.)

See, you alone will never be able to answer the question, “How follower-worthy am I?”   The answers to that question can only come from those who would be your followers.

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About the Author

Steve Motenko is an executive coach, leadership trainer, and co-host of The Boss Show, a weekly podcast on workplace dynamics. Steve and his Boss Show co-host, Jim Hessler, are co-authors of Land On Your Feet, Not On Your Face: A Guide to Building Your Leadership Platform. Steve lives on Whidbey Island, Washington, with his wife and dog, whom he loves, and a cat he tolerates usually pretty well.

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