Does the term “Follow the Leader” still apply in today’s world?   We live in an age of “followship”, but does followship imply that a leader is the one being followed?  Success on social media is often defined by the number of followers.  I get that to a certain extent but look at who is being followed.  We have celebrities, professional athletes, and controversial figures with huge followerships.  Are the followers being lead or are they being entertained?

I would argue that the majority of today’s followers are seeking entertainment value, they are not looking for leadership anymore.

What can true business leaders do to course-correct?  How can they win followship when they are competing with entertainers?  

Part of the solution is to become better contemporary leaders.  I think as a class of leaders we have become complacent in terms of how we lead.  We rely too heavily on positional power.   We dictate vs. delegate, we micromanage to ensure success and we act selfishly to preserve our status within the corporate hierarchy.  We’ve forgotten some of the fundamental success factors of leadership and we’ve also neglected to modernize our Brand to attract and retain followers.  We continue to give our followers reruns of the same TV episodes.  We are letting ourselves become irrelevant.

Let’s take a look at 5 steps a leader can take to increase their followship factor.

  1. Re-invent your brand – Go digital with videos, podcasts, tweets, and LinkedIn articles. Add some entertainment value to your content.  Create compelling value for your followers.  You need to create a marketing plan for yourself.
  2. Connect with your team on a frequent basis. Just send them a text, give them a 1-minute phone call.  Tell them how great they are and how much you value them.
  3. Learn something new and then talk about it. Rehashing content that everyone already knows will get you nowhere.  Continuous learning is important.  Educate yourself on a few current topics and broadcast your views strong and loud. Examples could be AI, the future of work, and IoT.
  4. Say what you will do and then do what you say. Credibility is a pillar of great leadership.
  5. Change your look. Maybe a new hairstyle or a change of wardrobe.  Just something that will make your followers take a second look.  Something subtle but noticeable.
  6. Strive to be authentic.  People see through showmanship.

I know that the list above seems simplistic, but you will be amazed at how much your followship can grow just by doing the simple things well.  You don’t have to be a Hollywood star or a professional athlete.  You can still be yourself, but just a moderately more contemporary you.