Mindstate Motivation Blog

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3 Reasons an Awesome Leader Can Be Reduced to a Follower

Have you ever flicked a flake of dandruff off your shoulder?  Or, how about this one?  You feel something crawling on you and quickly flick it with your finger to get it off of you as fast as you can!

Very efficient way to get rid of something, don’t you think?  One second the offender was there and in another second it was gone!

Well, as a leader you can just as efficiently be “flicked” from your leadership position by those you lead.

One second you were seen as the leader and in another second you were gone…at least as a leader.  “Flicked” to a follower just that fast!

How does that sort of thing possibly happen?

The answer is being a leader requires unwavering commitment to 3 factors.  If you don’t maintain that commitment, in a flick of a finger,
those factors become reasons for your fall from a leadership position.hand-408152_1920

REASON NUMBER 1 TO GET FLICKED LIKE A FLAKE

Motivated followers of a leader continue in that role because they have a belief in their leader.  They have no reason to question the motives of their leader.  They would go to the ends of the earth to fulfill the leader’s vision and mission.

There are innumerable examples in history of leaders who had followers with such belief in them.

Some positive examples would be:  Hannibal; Alexander the Great; George Washington; Winston Churchill; to name a very few.

There is an outstanding article in Forbes Magazine listing what they see as currently the world’s greatest leaders.

Any of the people referred to in the above links reinforce the factor of belief in the leader as the source of the leader’s power.  Followers unconditionally accept with confidence the leader’s chosen direction.

In contrast, with a collective flick of the finger by the leader’s followers the leader can be gone if somehow that belief is betrayed.  One example from modern history of such a circumstance would be that of Richard M. Nixon.

Bottom-line:  As a leader, believe your people will reject you when their belief in you is lost.

REASON NUMBER 2 TO GET FLICKED LIKE A FLAKE

This next reason could be considered one in the same with the first reason.  However, I think there is enough difference to make them separate reasons for leaders being reduced to followers.

Consider their definitions to make my point.

In one source, belief is defined as:  “a feeling of being sure that someone or something exists or that something is true or a feeling that something is good, right, or valuable.”

Trust, on the other hand, is defined by the same source as:  “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something or one in which confidence is placed.”

See what I mean regarding the differences?

You might believe that your leader exists or it’s true s/he has a firm grip on their leadership position.

On the other hand, you may feel no assurance of her/his ability; truth-telling or character.

Take that last point…if you were not assured of your leader’s ability, etc. and you had a choice would you not flick that leader back to a follower in the proverbial “New York Minute?”  Of course you would and so would most of us!

Bottom-line:  A leader without the confidence of her/his followers cannot be trusted to lead them to their best effort and results.

REASON NUMBER 3 TO GET FLICKED LIKE A FLAKE

If communication from the leader is not clear and understood, what’s it called?  Answer:  Confusion!

When leaders create confusion through ineffective communication with their people, the results will be chaos.

Here’s just one great example of that last point as demonstrated from history.

Hurricane Katrina’s impact on New Orleans and the northern Gulf Coast of the U. S. would have been devastating under the best of circumstances.  When the catastrophic damage was compounded by confused communication from government agencies the situation turned into chaos.

Point of fact—the leader of the Federal Emergency Management Agency was told on national news broadcasts:  “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job!”  Michael D. Brown was the Director of the agency, FEMA, at the time.

As the confusion mounted following the Katrina disaster because of unclear communication from FEMA and other governmental agencies, the people impacted began to revolt.  The little people (the followers) had enough of poor communication and the related poorly administered disaster recovery services.

Brown was “flicked” from his leadership role 10 days after being told he was doing a heck of a job!

Followers don’t respond to what the leader says…they respond to what they understand the leader to say.

Bottom-line:   A leader who cannot communicate with absolute clarity makes a much better follower.

Belief, Trust, and Understanding—3 reasons (if they don’t exist) a leader will be flicked to follower like that bug on your arm you flicked into oblivion.

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What would be another good reason a leader could be “flicked” to follower?  How could the leader have avoided that reason?

Please share your thoughts by commenting below.  

Share this information with others by following the social media links at the top or bottom of this post.  Thank you.   

Crop of GNCC ShotMindstate mentor, author, trainer and speaker, Gary Greenfield (@LifeRider) provides self-employed people inspirational insight and concise business ideas to help improve mindstate and minimize stress. He believes a mindstate that is positive and stress that is minimized helps self-employed people better profit through performance.

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