Becoming a Leader Others Want to Follow
Employees will consistently "go over and beyond" when they are working for leaders they respect and love working for. The following exercise will help effective leaders gain understanding of three elements from their team:
- What the team wishes their leader would START doing
- What the team wishes their leader would STOP doing
- What the team wants their leader to CONTINUE doing
A OneAccord colleague and I performed a Revenue Review Assessment for a CEO. From the seven key leaders in the company, I learned that morale was terrible. As we presented our findings and recommendations a few days later, the CEO hired me as a part-time, Interim Executive with the aim of helping the company grow profitable revenue.
On my first day of work, I prepared the CEO for an exercise to improve morale. When we met with his Leadership Team, I explained, “Larry (the CEO) and I are going to leave the room. On the white board, I’d like you to write everything you would like Larry to START doing in column 1. In column 2, write everything you wish Larry would STOP doing. And in column 3, write everything you would like Larry to CONTINUE doing. Take as long as you need. When you are finished, we’ll come back and talk through the issues.”
Larry received a lot of honest and humbling feedback that day. He didn’t argue. He didn’t try to defend or explain himself. He listened; then, he pledged to work every day toward overcoming his weaknesses and becoming the leader they needed. We scheduled monthly follow-up meetings for the next several months.
Larry was able to make some changes quickly; others were gradual, but the team was greatly encouraged as they saw Larry doing what he promised. Within two months, the company rose from declining sales to double digit year-over-year increases!
One year later, morale on the leadership team was fantastic. When I asked each of the seven individuals what it was like to be a part of the team, they used phrases like, “It’s an honor,” and “It’s a privilege”. Some of them had tears in their eyes as they spoke about their team with emotion and gratitude. Additionally, both top line revenue and bottom line profit showed double digit increases over the previous year’s performance.
It takes courage and humility to become a Leader Others Want to Follow. If you want to become such a leader, have someone help you facilitate a START - STOP - CONTINUE exercise.
Have you had an experience with an exercise like this before?