“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” Ronald Reagan
Just as beauty is not heard, leadership is not visible. It’s the change that leaders create and the way they affect the environment that make us realize the importance of their presence. The motivational qualities of leaders make an enormous difference to all but most of all resulting in an impact on the organization’s growth, or the lack of which, its demise.
Motivational Qualities of Leaders
Ray Kroc has remarked that, “The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.” Leaders don’t work by the benchmark set for them but rather set their own so high that it’s a challenge to meet them. It’s their way of motivating the self to achieve more, and test their capacity as an individual as well as a leader.
Some examples of great leadership are Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, and Margaret Thatcher etc. They’re not keen to follow the world but rather let the world follow them by setting new pathways for others to follow. In that they’re the innovators and creators of things as well. The statement “where no man has tread before” does not hold any meaning for them. They excel in defying the norms by setting new standards for themselves as well as others. According to Steve Jobs leadership is about passion:
“You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.” — Steve Jobs
The natural aptitude to lead does not come easily because most individuals are content with the status quo. Leaders tend to deviate because they envision a different way of tackling every day challenges. It is these qualities of a leader that motivate followers to do more, envision a progressive future, and encourage them to meet in the challenges along with their leaders.
That is why leaders are critical for organizations, and companies spend millions of dollars today to train, develop and motivate employees to have leadership qualities. If any organization is looking forward to grow they will need to invest in leadership skill development and management. They need to create an environment conducive for leaders to grow, get opportunities and excel.
Followers Need Motivation
Having said that, does being a “follower”, aka non-leader, bad? Not really. Followers are individuals, inclined towards systematic, organized and progressive work environment. They aspire to improve their skills, grow in their careers, and are great in group participation. What they don’t have in their capacity to lead or to manage people, they make up in being enthusiastic team players.
For leaders, followers are necessary to carry out tasks which require well-planned and systematic workers. They need people who are active listeners and doers, to carry out their big plans and make their vision a reality. Followers are the ones who make it possible for leaders to achieve their goals and organizational mission. In a way you could say they are the foundation for leaders. All they require are the motivational qualities of leaders to push them in the right direction. Alfred Tennyson defines the relationship of followers and leaders as follows:
“No man ever got very high by pulling other people down. The intelligent merchant does not knock his competitors. The sensible worker does not work those who work with him. Don’t knock your friends. Don’t knock your enemies. Don’t knock yourself.” — Alfred Tennyson
For organizations, followers are the cornerstone to their growth. Imagine a world where everyone is a leader and no followers in sight. Difficult isn’t it? This is the reason why companies need to take the opportunity to train followers to hone their skills; set rewards and recognition programs; and motivate their employees with tried and test methods so they are keen to achieve more collectively with their management leaders.
Now that you know the roles of leaders and followers in organizational growth, check out the infographic below and let us know, which one are you. Are you a leader or a follower?