3 Questions About Choosing to Follow

Bob Schultek
Author of The Gauntlet

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People act in their own best interest. Before choosing to follow your lead, your team will assess your credibility (are you genuine?) and your intentions (why should I follow you?), asking themselves these 3 questions:

1. “Can you help me?” The number one reason that people choose to follow is because the leader is credible. More than vision, or communication skills, or other effective leadership characteristics, people need to believe that a leader has the credibility and competency to fulfill promises, to walk the talk. Your authenticity gives them confidence that they can benefit from following your lead.

2. “Do you care about me?” Having determined that following a leader can produce benefits, people focus next on evaluating how likely it is that this will occur. This judgement rests on the leader’s empathy and ability to explore how achievement of a shared goal presents advantages and opportunities for those on the team. It is a process of discovering the aspirations and needs of those you seek to lead rather than assuming that you know these answers. Asking the questions demonstrates caring.

3. “Can I trust you?” Making the commitment to follow is ultimately about trust. The generosity of time and energy you invest to discover what motivates your team becomes the genesis of a trusting relationship. Promising only what you can realistically deliver, and then fulfilling the promise sustains that trust. The commitment of your team to follow your lead, and their willingness to invest additional effort in driving the change you seek, is ultimately enabled by their trust in you.

How do you discover what motivates your team?
How do you sustain the trust of your team?

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