P7M2 Supporting Your Followers

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Supporting Your Followers: How To Help Your Employees Succeed In Their Roles

A Leader Needs Followers

Leadership involves influencing others towards your goals, you need to understand followers
What followers need depends on
Society and cultural norms
The situation
The task
The person – ability, motivation, personality
To lead / manage others you must learn to manage yourself and the way you lead

Why A Follower Will Follow

Fear of punishment
Blind hope – situation is desperate but may jump to others offering more hope
Faith in the leader – strong personal commitment (cults) – blame situation
Logical agreement and commitment
Compelling sustained vision creates emotional commitment

Kellerman’s Types Of Followers

Isolates – care little, get on with job, unaware
Bystanders – watch from sidelines, don’t hide from being managed or led – passive
Participants – care about the business – will support leader if agree with ideas
Activists – care deeply and when supportive will be eager to help
Diehards – become totally dedicated to the cause


Completely detached – own little island
Preserve the status quo
Who are your isolates and why?
Low job satisfaction
Reaction to stress (work or personal – ST/LT)
No connection or commitment to business – it is just a way to earn money
Are they effective enough to stay?
Can you re-engage and interest?


Aware of what is going on but choose not to involve themselves
Passive even when it is in their interest
Moaners but not doers
Like passives support status quo
OK if you just want people to do as they are told – disappointing if you want engagement
May respond to better motivation techniques


Care and want to make a difference
Great when they support the leader’s ideas.
Will become involved in improvement efforts when “invited”
Probably your ideal employees


Care deeply about the leader or business
Work hard to support or defeat the leader
Will rally support of others
Often in the leader’s inner circle

Totally committed to their cause, even at their own cost

What Followers Need

To be treated fairly and with respect – pay, benefits, job security
If you don’t care about them, they don’t care about you and the business
To be proud of their own achievements, their job and the business
To have good, productive relationships with the other employees and to have a sense of belonging

Situational Leadership

Developed by Paul Hersey & Ken Blanchard
Useful framework – brings together many ideas
Basic concept – leaders have to match their style to their follower’s needs for competence & commitment
S1 – telling / directing
S2 – selling / coaching
S3 – participating / supporting
S4 – delegating

Development & Readiness Levels

D = development level
Position on competence and commitment
Low competence & low commitment
High competence & high commitment
R = readiness level
Scale for ability, confidence and willingness
Unable and unwilling
Able, confident and willing
Balance between task and people focus

Directive Behaviour (Task Focus)

Get the job done right
Clearly telling people
What to do
How to do it
When to do it
Where to do it
Little focus on why to do it
Closely supervising the task to make sure it is done right and the person know what to do next

Supportive Behaviour (Person Focus)

Help the employees grow and develop
Listening to people and their ideas
Providing support if things get difficult
Encouraging efforts and praising performance
Involving followers in decision making and problem solving

Telling / Directing (S1)

Follower has low competence and high commitment (D1) (new to task) and is unable or unwilling to do task on own (R1)
The leader defines the task and makes the decisions, gives clear instructions, provides resources and supervises closely.
Focus on task over relationship with high levels of directing and low levels of supporting
What happens if…

Delegating (S4)

Follower has high competence and high commitment (D4) and is able, confident and willing to do the task on own (R4)
The follower has been delegated control but involves the leader in big decisions and problems. Jointly agree goals and standards and follower evaluates performance – little supervision.
Little time is needed on the task or relationship with low levels of directing and supporting.
What happens if…

Selling / Coaching

Follower has some competence but low commitment (D2) and is able, unsure on own but confident with support to do the task (R2)
The leader identifies the task, sets the standards, prepares an action plan and sells it to the follower seeking ideas and feedback (to build esteem and commitment) before making final decision. Active supervision.
Significant time is needed on task and personal relationship with high levels of directing and supporting.

Participating / Supportive (S3)

Follower has high competence but variable commitment (D3) and is able but insecure or unwilling (R3)
Day to day decisions are passed to the follower but the leader takes part in the bigger decisions, facilitates improvement, shares information and actively praises performance.
The focus is on the relationship rather than the task with high supporting and low directing.

Movements Along The Path

New task – need clear instructions and guidance
Task may be more difficult or less interesting than thought – team members become disillusioned and need coaching for skills and motivation.
Skills continue to build but there is self-doubt – “Can I do this on my own?” – team members need support.
The team member can work well on own

What To Do

What is your natural style?
List your team members and for each
Assess competence (overall) and for major responsibilities
Assess commitment (overall for business) and for major responsibilities
Consider your approach – any mismatches?
Share these ideas with team leaders who lead / manage team members & report to you

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