You’re not a great leader until there are two things in place: a cause to die for and a charge of followers. I should blog about that some time later, but this blog is about maintaining the loyalty of the people following behind you. If you are not sure of the loyalty of your followers, you can kiss your cause goodbye. No true movement is carried out by one man. It might start with one, but it takes a group of people to move from mere action to legendary impact. So how do you maintain the loyalty of your followers.
CLARITY: You must be clear about what the mission is. Someone once said and I paraphrase, ’If it’s a mist on stage, it’s a fog in the pew.’ A fog is thicker. Every instruction must be clear. Every goal must be broken down to an indivisible state. Every target must be as clear as a summer afternoon to the least member of the group. This means you must be absolutely clear yourself.
CONSISTENCY: Nothing discourages followership like inconsistency. Your words must line up with your actions. You must ensure that nothing about you, character or words, negates the core of the mission. Your vision must be focused in one direction. And if there is a change, it must still be consistent with the value system of the mission or institution.
LEAD FROM THE FRONT: A true leader never points the way, he leads from the front. You must never take the followers to a place you have never been. Every true cause is championed by a man or woman who is ready to blaze a trail. No follower wants to receive direction, motivation and instruction from someone behind them. They want to see you walk the talk.
IMPARTIALIITY: Rules and regulations, standards and codes must be one-size-fits-all. No biases. No partiality. This is where many leaders miss it. If it’s a rule at the lower tiers of the institutions, it must be a rule on the upper most tier too. If you are going to lead by example then you must show the rules apply to you and your ‘favorite’ people. Partiality is the easiest way to lose the trust of your followers.
Every true follower wants to trust his or her leader. As a leader you must strive to attract and retain this trust.