Leadership is by its very definition a privilege that is enabled by people who choose to follow the appointed leader; this is particularly true within the community sector where people overwhelmingly work on a volunteer basis.
Various studies have concluded that people volunteer their time for a cause that they value, people see volunteering as a way to practice and refine skills, build self esteem, gain experience which will benefit their professional careers along with social interaction and satisfying a need to belong.
Interestingly, studies have also revealed why people stop volunteering, with the failure of leadership being number one on the list for the top five reasons which also include; unproductive activities, lack of communication and professionalism, absence of achievement, feedback and development opportunities.
Unsurprisingly, further research tells us that those in a leadership role who possess the capability to create, develop, collaborate and lead sustained change, benefiting the “customers” of the organisation and indeed society more broadly are rare.
So how do you decide if the leadership of your organisation is capable and worthy of your followship?
Most people will instinctively know within minutes of speaking with an organisation’s leader if they will be prepared to follow them, most of these decisions are quite unconscious and informed by our gut instinct, however, I suggest applying the following check list to ensure that the leader of the organisation is indeed worthy of your “followship”:
- Do they have others speaking favorably of their character, performance and contributions?
- Are they genuinely interested in you and your development?
- Are they there for the right reasons, those reasons that do not include personal financial reward or status?
- Are they transparent, do they share their knowledge and experiences regularly, freely and widely?
- Have they demonstrated that they “think” and “reflect” before acting?
- Have they demonstrated through action that they are capable of dreaming big and taking action to bring those dreams to life?
- Do they challenge what is wrong and act with good intent to make things better?
This list is not meant to be exhaustive or conclusive, however, in my experience; these questions go to the heart of a capable leader who would be worthy of my “followship”.
Are those leaders you follow worthy?
“Are those leaders you follow worthy?” article published in the Alwasat Newspaper June 2013.