Thanks to social media, it’s easy to become fixated on the numbers whether that’s how many employees you have working for you or how many people attend an event you host.
But attracting great followers, the right followers, can pay dividends.
- Right followers make it happen.
If you’re a business owner, your followers are the people on the ground making your vision happen and helping you to realize your goals. Great followers are more than just foot soldiers or cogs in the wheel of your business machine.
Any qualified worker can complete the task they are assigned but loyal followers will fight the battles that go on behind closed doors. When you leave a meeting or log-off of a conference call, you want to know that the people you’ve hired will quash any toxic dissension.
- They’ll challenge you to be better.
Quality followers will feel empowered to hold leaders accountable. That sounds dramatic and maybe counterintuitive to the idea that bosses are superiors, but it’s a positive sign of leadership.
Great followers respect your expertise and therefore hold you to a high standard. If they see you or your business slipping down the slope of complacency, they’ll challenge you to be better.
If for example, say you’re a thought leader in your industry with a considerable Twitter following. If you’ve attracted quality fans that care about your brand and reputation, they’re going to tweet at you with constructive criticism and not just blind praise.
- They can help you get out ahead of conflict.
As the article “All Engineering Leaders Need Great Followers” points out, followers can teach leaders as much as leaders can teach followers. One of the primary roles of a follower is a responsibility to listen, take stock of situations, and learn from that input.
In a business environment, great employees will communicate to you problems as they happen rather than letting conflict fester.
They’re professional adults that know there’s a difference between “being a snitch” and proactive problem solving.
- Passion is the best PR.
As Forbes explains, there’s a difference between a follower and a subordinate.
A passionate follower may not have authority in the form of a fancy title, but they hold a great deal of actual power.
When you are an innovative leader in the business world, you likely won’t need to take out a billboard announcing your talent because your passionate employees or men-tees will be spreading the positive word for you.
- Today’s followers may be tomorrow’s leaders.
This isn’t hyperbole.
Industries like technology and media are in a constant state of change thanks to new mechanical innovations and strategic disruption.
Your intern today could be your peer at another company in a year. Taking the long view, that assistant could be your boss at some point. You want to have great followers because your future employment could depend on it.
Great followers can help you save money with positive PR, challenge you to be better, and help prevent future conflict or unemployment.
For these reasons it’s just as important that leaders consider the quality, not quantity of their followers.
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About the Author: Kristin Livingstone writes on a variety of topics including leadership and business.