First Lesson from the Apprentice – the Art of Followership

Yes it’s back – a new series of the Apprentice and immediately it brings a lesson to mind – although I have a feeling this will not be the last!

The first episode of this series showed the two teams getting on with their first task except everyone wanted to show they were the best leader  – and consequently none of them made good followers.

If you’ve seen my “How to Talk to Aliens” presentation you may remember the grid of characteristics based on the original work by Merrill and Reid [1].

The common perception is that the Driver is the obvious leader but here is plenty of scope for different personalities styles to lead. Perhaps more importantly good leaders have an ability to spot when to practice good followership and let other people come to the fore. This is particularly important if you’re the boss and want your staff to work on their own initiative and without constant reference to you. Following is an excellent way of helping your staff develop with a little security from your support.

It may be surprising how powerful the characteristics, we don’t normally associate with leadership, can be.  Particularly the listening, relationship building and supportive skills are excellent for helping your staff grow and ultimately make you life easier.

For me being an effective follower can bring just as much success as being the leader.

So how did our Apprentices score – Nil Point!

[1] Personal Styles & Effective Performance : David W. Merrill , Roger H Reid
ISBN-10: 0801968992  ISBN-13: 978-0801968990

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