How Many Of Your Followers Are Leaders?

Do you have the ability to see ability in others?

As a highly effective leader it is very important “who” you focus your time, and energy on the most within your team. It is common for a manager to focus most of their time, and energy on the team members are who are not performing the best.

However, you are striving to become a highly effective leader. So, you should know that they focus most of their time on the team members who are performing the best. They do this so they are not reacting to poor performance. They are taking action on good performance.

Low performing leaders focus on the team members who are either, not doing what they are told, doing what they want to, or are not getting the job done. The reason they focus on these team members is because it makes them feel that they are in control.

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When doing this, it is an opportunity for them to flex their muscles and use their position of power. Low performing leaders like the feeling of being in charge.

For them there is no better way to show their leaders that they are taking charge, by focussing on their poor performers. It is most likely what their leaders want them to do too.

1. Who Are Your Best Performers?

To be a highly effective leader, you must do the exact opposite. If you want to influence your team, you must first focus on the team members with the most influence. They are the team members who are your best performers.

The more influence you have with the best performers, then the more influence you will have with the rest of the team. Your influence will increase as their influence increases.

When their influence increases, it will help the team members who are not performing so well to raise their game.

When I started my leadership career and I was leading teams, my mentor Ron told me to do the following:

  • Spend 80% of your time focussing on the best performers
  • Spend 15% of your time focussing on the “middle of the road” performers
  • Spend 5% of your time focussing on the poor performers

The reason he told me that is because, he too believed that by focussing on the best performers my influence would increase throughout the team.

In any industry in the world, most managers of people will do the exact opposite. They will spend 80% of their time on the poor performers, 15% of their time on the “middle of the road” performers and 5% of their time on the best performers.

The poor performers do not perform well because they don’t want to perform well. They probably hate their jobs, and don’t want to be there if they are being honest with themselves.

So, why would you waste your time, and energy focussing on people who do not have the will to improve?

2. Invest Your Time, Don’t Waste Your Time

If you invest your time on your team rather than waste your time on your team, you will start to see just how much more productive you and they will become.

Leadership is influence, as you well know. It is not about having a position of power or job title. So, increase your influence with your team, by investing your time on your best performers.

When you do this you will have a much better chance of your influence increasing. You will see a return on your investment (ROI), and you will see this because your best performer’s influence will increase.

They are hungry to keep improving, and they will be happy to help other members of the team improve. This will in turn help you. You will start to see an improvement on results, and performance.

The best performers in the team are with the team a lot more than you probably are. You have to attend meetings and go to different sites in the organisation to see different leaders. So, your time with the team can be quite limited.

However, as your best performers are with the rest of the team daily, they will increase your influence for you. As they increase their own influence by helping the other members of the team, your influence will multiply.

Their relationships will grow, as will yours because they will be following your lead, and your example.

When you invest your time and energy into your best performers, you will build a stronger relationship, and build more trust. You and your best performers will grow together, develop together and connect further.

Then, when your best performers invest their time with other members of the team, your influence will multiply. The whole team will be building stronger relationships, growing, developing and connecting further too. They will be doing this in your image by following your example.

3. How To Multiply Your Influence

Every team has a leader; you (the boss). They also have a second leader; (your best performer). Your best performer will increase your influence by increasing theirs with their own followers.

You are indirectly leading followers, when you directly lead leaders.

As you go through this post and my other posts, I am directly leading and influencing you. Then as you apply the leadership principles you are learning, and your own influence increases.

I am indirectly leading, and influencing your team and any other people who you influence. Can you see how it works? I know this because you are still reading, and you want to become a better leader. You are striving to become a highly effective leader in fact.

You want to become a secure leader and increase your influence with your team. All the low performing leaders probably stopped reading this post and my other posts a good while ago. But not you.

I have the same idea for all the posts I write on leadership. I want to directly influence the reader through teaching them the principles. Then when they have finished the learning and have applied it, I want to indirectly influence their teams, family and friends.

The team, family and friends will also have high influence and followers, so I will indirectly influence them too. It becomes a snowball effect, and your influence can keep multiplying and multiplying.

Leadership is not about you, but it does start with you. As you start influencing and teaching people what you know, they will do the same with others, and they will then do the same.

4. The Big Leadership Picture

If we look at the big picture, we start by influencing our team, then at home, then our community, then our city, then our country, then the world. We can have that kind of impact and make that big of a difference.

If you want you and your team to become noticed within your organisation, then you must focus on your leaders. When your leaders improve, you will improve, your team will improve, and the organisation will improve.

Your leaders will become stars, your other team members will strive to become stars, and you will become a star leader. Would you like to be a star leader in your organisation? It sure does help when you are climbing that leadership ladder.

Your team members will have a much better chance of getting promoted, or getting a pay rise. You will most certainly have a good chance of being promoted and getting a pay rise.

You and the team will become the “go to” team for when the organisation needs things to happen. They will know that you will achieve great results, which again will get noticed by the organisation.

If a low performing leader achieves great results because he/she are able to manipulate and control their team, then their influence will actually decrease. It will decrease with their own team, and with other teams in the organisation.

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The only people who will be happy with their results are their own line manager and leaders. They will probably not care how they achieved the results, just the fact that they achieved them. That is all they will be concerned with.

A highly effective leader has integrity, and will care about the team first. They care about the team’s character, and then will think about the results last. They have a positive influence on their team, and with others.

As your positive influence grows with your team, they will constantly want more from you, especially the best performers. So, give them what they crave, YOUR INFLUENCE. As you do that, they will continue to grow, and become hungrier. You too will also continue to grow, and you will become hungrier to feed your team.

Every team has a leader. Every team has a second leader. Every team has a third leader. So, focus on those leaders and increase your influence with them. Teach them how to increase their influence, and your influence will multiply.

I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.

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All the best,

Tom (Lead, Grow, Influence)

19 thoughts on “How Many Of Your Followers Are Leaders?

  1. Hi Tom,

    I really enjoyed your post! I took a leadership course a few years ago when I was earning my masters in medical informatics. My professor taught the same thing and said that it could easily be carried through all the various models of leadership. Thanks for validating that for me!

    1. Hi Frank,

      Thank you for your comment. So pleased you found the post valuable.

      Leadership is basically a continuation of your inspiration and teachings through other people, otherwise known as your influence. The more people you can influence, the more they can influence, and so on.

      Please do come back and keep engaging.

      All the best,

      Tom

  2. Hi Tom, great article, I like your perspective and the point you made. I agree with everything you said, especially with the fact that leaders should spend most of their time with ones that perform the best. Unfortunately, I work in a company where my boss dedicates more time to those that are less productive, and that is so frustrating for other colleges and myself, who are more productive. However, I learned a lot from you today, and I hope that I will be able to implement this knowledge in the future.
    Best regards
    Srdjan

    1. Hi Srdjan,

      Really pleased you learned a lot, and thank you for your comment.

      It is very frustrating when leaders focus on the worst performers and neglect the better performers. That’s one of the main reasons why the better performers leave so quickly to find something else.

      You should change that and become the leader in your team. Show your boss the way, and be the leader you wish you had.

      If you need any further help then please don’t hesitate to come back and engage.

      All the best,

      Tom

  3. Hi Tom!
    I really enjoyed this post. Leadership is an important topic these days.
    I find your perspective very relevant .
    But I do want to stress that performance is not everything in a job.
    To perform your employees must thrive as well.
    They are investing quite an amount of time at work.
    To me leadership is about having a clear vision, team building and ownership.
    To see, hear and understand all your teammembers.
    So why not use equal amount of time on all?

    You wrote:
    “The poor performers do not perform well because they don’t want to perform well. They probably hate their jobs, and don’t want to be there if they are being honest with themselves.

    So, why would you waste your time, and energy focussing on people who do not have the will to improve? ”

    I think if a person hate their job, have no will to improve there is something wrong with the communication , and the ledership in the business.

    In my experience it is because they do not feel a sense of ownership to the job , having any influence on their work, not beeing seen or understood.

    I think everyone wants to improve if they see a reason to improve – and a good leader will know how to find a way to make their employees share their vision and feel like being an important part of the vision.

    1. Hi Hilde,

      Thank you for your comment, and thank you for reading through my post so thoroughly.

      Just to clarify, I advise to focus 85% of your time on your best performers. The reason for that is, they can use their influence to help you with the poor performers, so we can work together to change how they feel.

      It is the feeling when they come into work that needs to change, as they feel that they don’t want to be there. If we can change the environment so that the whole team can feel like they want to be there, and give them a vision that they can take as their own, then we are on the right path.

      Thank you again for giving your opinions. Please do come back and keep engaging.

      All the best,

      Tom

  4. This makes so much sense. As a leader you should want to surround yourself with other leaders. This will bring synergy to the group or organization. When I used to work for the private firm, I felt that the best bosses and managers did exactly that with me and they made me want to do better to improve myself and the company in every way. This in turn makes others want to improve themselves.

    1. Hi Geri,

      Thank you for your comment. Really pleased you found it valuable.

      It’s great to hear that your former leaders were this way with you and your colleagues. We need our leaders to create leaders out of us, and if this could be the norm throughout the world, imagine what kind of world we would have.

      Please return, and keep engaging.

      All the best,

      Tom

  5. To be honest, I have learned something new for myself from this post.

    I have been thinking that it’s natural to focus more on people who perform the worst, in order to take them to the level of best performers while best performers anyway perform well 🙂

    It’s great to have the possibility to take things from another perspective, and what you have laid out in this article makes total sense to me.

    One quick question for you: if a person is an introvert, could he/she become a great leader?

    I appreciate your feedback.

    Best Wishes,
    Natalie

    1. Hi Natalie,

      Thank you for your comment. I am really pleased that you found it valuable and helpful.

      An introvert could most definitely become a great leader. Everybody in the world has the potential and the capability to become a leader. When people say there is natural born leaders, that is not necessarily true. A person who comes across as a natural born leader is a person who practices the habits, and behaviours of a great leader.

      All you need to do as an introvert is change your habits and practice the behaviours of a highly effective leader. It takes courage to do, and you need to strengthen your character. However, if you work on yourself every single day, you will be on the right path to becoming a great leader.

      All the best,

      Tom

  6. I completely agree with everything you wrote. Leveraging our time in the most effective way possible is exactly what great leaders do. I have had the chance to work with some really fantastic leaders and also some not so great. I have really seen how these principles are so true. That trickle down effect is amazing to watch in action. I did need that reminder so thank you for that.

    1. Hi Richard,

      Thank you for your comment. Really pleased that you found the post valuable.

      It’s my pleasure to be able to remind you of some of the great leaders you have worked with. It’s amazing when you have role model leaders who you can emulate.

      Please do return and keep engaging.

      All the best,

      Tom

  7. Hi Tom,

    Great post and reminds me of my very early days in project management when I was under an highly effective leader who concentrated on those that could deliver.

    I was asked to go to a weekly meeting as a substitute for my team leader/ manager.

    The senior project manager, went around the table in regards to whether each team was ready and able to deliver at the weekend a major upgrade. During the meeting the delivery date had been brought forward by a week. Needless to say , when it came to me , I said ‘maybe – i’ll have to check’. I couldn’t deliver the answer!!!

    I was cut short! and basically very briefly reprimanded by him for not having the authority to be in the meeting and deliver answers. He then moved on and concentrated on the rest of the people that could deliver an answer.

    At lunchtime, I met the same senior project manager in the pub and managed to grab him for 2 minutes. He explained the issue in a very friendly manner and told me to get the authority before attending another meeting.

    For the next 6 months, I attended every meeting and I was always able to deliver an answer. I had learnt my lesson.

    I still consider this guy a mentor to this day, even though he never directly mentored me.

    That very short lesson in how to be effective and concentrate on delivery sticks with me. So many other’s in his position would have spent way too long on ripping me to shreds and concentrating on what was wrong etc rather than moving on and focusing on the delivery.

    1. Hi Lawrence,

      Thank you for sharing your story with me, very inspirational. Hopefully others will see your story too and be able to take inspiration from it.

      Keep returning and engaging through the future posts.

      All the best,

      Tom

  8. Hi Tom ,

    I like this article .This definitely makes sense.This principle need to be put into practice .Thank you very much

    Jim-Kelly

    1. Hi Jim,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Keep practicing what you are learning and you will be well on your way to becoming a highly effective leader.

      Please return and keep engaging.

      All the best,

      Tom

  9. Hi Tom ,

    I like this article .This definitely makes sense.i didn’t know about this .Nice principle that need to be put into practice .Thank you very much

    Jim-Kelly

  10. This article is fascinating Tom! I never, ever thought of leadership in this way. You dropped a lot of big concepts that make so much sense! If all bosses, managers, and leaders led in this way, people would be much happier in their positions, feel fulfilled and like everyone had a common purpose. Great article!

    1. Hi Stephanie,

      Thank you for your comment. Really pleased you found the post valuable.

      Take what you have learned and apply it to your life, and pass on what you have learned too. That is how we are going to increase the number of highly effective leaders we have in the world.

      You are right, if all bosses, managers, and leaders led like a highly effective leader then the world could be a much happier place.

      Keep returning and engaging.

      All the best,

      Tom

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