How Can You Improve Followership Characteristics?

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Key Takeaways:

  • Develop qualities like ego management, competency, initiative, supportiveness, and self-confidence.
  • Focus on skills including collaboration, responsibility, continuous learning, and delegating.
  • Lead by example, embrace servant leadership, listen deeply, and recognize others.
  • Work on weaknesses and build trust, communication, positivity, and strategic thinking.
  • Followership and leadership skills intersect; improving both makes you an asset to teams.


What defines an effective follower and how can you develop those desired characteristics? Followership plays a crucial role in any organization, yet is often overlooked. This comprehensive guide will examine the traits, skills, and behaviors that make someone an impactful follower.

By understanding the psychology and dynamics of followership, individuals can evaluate their own mindsets and strengths. With purposeful improvements, anyone can go from being a passive follower to an active contributor. The ability to follow skillfully and inspire others is invaluable for professional and personal growth.

Readers will learn specific techniques to improve crucial followership qualities like trust, communication, critical thinking, positivity, competency, and leadership. Together these traits create engaged, empowered followers who enable leaders and elevate teams. Journey from follower to leader while serving as the glue that bonds groups together.

Followership skills intersect closely with leadership capabilities. Excellence in both areas makes someone an invaluable asset throughout their life and career. By implementing the guidance in this article, individuals can unlock their full potential as proactive followers and compassionate leaders.

Core Characteristics of a Strong Follower

At its heart, exemplary followership centers on behaviors and mindsets that build up others, add value, and help achieve shared objectives. Here are some of the most important qualities and skills of effective followers:

Ego Management

Great followers have disciplined their egos to focus on collective priorities rather than self-interest. They derive satisfaction from group success, not individual recognition. Mature followers see beyond their own advancement and embrace the team’s greater purpose.


Skilled followers work diligently to maintain a high level of proficiency in their role. They enthusiastically expand their knowledge and capabilities to maximize their contributions. Strong competence earns followers greater responsibilities from leaders.

Initiative and Responsibility

Proactive followers display initiative to understand objectives, fulfill duties, and solve problems. They take ownership of tasks without waiting for direction. Responsible self-starters lighten the load for leaders.


Exceptional followers uplift their leaders and colleagues. They offer help freely, collaborate willingly, and provide encouragement during challenges. This supportive spirit fosters camaraderie and perseverance.

Communication Skills

Great communicators listen actively, provide thoughtful input, and share ideas respectfully. Two-way dialogue builds trust between leaders and followers. Clear, open channels unify teams.

Critical Thinking

Forward-thinking followers analyze situations strategically. They spot potential issues and creatively generate solutions. Leaders come to rely on these followers’ perceptive judgment.

Optimism and Enthusiasm

Energized, positive followers inspire everyone around them. Their optimism is contagious and helps teams overcome negativity. Enthusiastic participation creates momentum.


Self-assured followers have faith in their abilities and potential for growth. Confidence allows them to take risks, accept new duties, and handle pressure maturely. Assured followers become empowered leaders.

Continuous Learning

Eager followers seek opportunities to improve their knowledge and skills. Their growth mindset pushes leaders to keep advancing too. Shared learning propels individuals and organizations forward.

Cultivating these essential characteristics transforms passive followers into exemplary contributors with invaluable perspectives.

How to Develop Crucial Followership Skills

Becoming an empowered follower requires more than just adopting the right mindset. There are specific learnable skills that enable you to engage productively, influence appropriately, and unlock leadership capabilities.

Build Trust

Trust begins by maintaining integrity, transparency, and honesty. Followers should uphold ethical principles even when leaders falter. Consistent principles earn respect. Nurture trust by showing care for colleagues’ needs and championing shared values.

Improve Communication

Active listening demonstrates respect for others’ viewpoints. Ask thoughtful questions to deepen understanding. Share feedback and ideas constructively without ego. Clear communication resolves issues before they escalate.

Promote Positivity

Counter negativity tactfully through optimism, empathy, and solutions-focus. Redirect complaints into constructive discussions. Highlight team strengths and celebrate small wins. Positivity is contagious.

Think Strategically

Adopt a big picture, long-term perspective. Consider wider contexts and potential consequences. Apply critical thinking to overcome challenges and maximize opportunities. Strategic followers become strategic leaders.

Build Competence

Pursue training and volunteer for stretch assignments to expand capabilities. Mentor others to deepen knowledge. Competence earns leaders’ confidence in handing over responsibility. Skills attract opportunities.

Develop Collaborative Muscles

Listen fully, validate others’ perspectives, and harness diverse insights. Subvert ego and bias to unify around common ground. Collaboration maximizes strengths. Bring out the best in everyone.

Delegate Strategically

Empower colleagues by delegating tasks that build skills. Provide support without micromanaging. Delegation develops confidence and leadership. Enable others’ growth.

Give Recognition

Notice and appreciate others’ efforts and achievements. Recognize good work publicly. People are motivated when their contributions feel valued. Recognition inspires loyalty.

Embrace Continuous Improvement

Be self-aware. Reflect on challenges and failures objectively. Seek input from others. There is always room for growth; adopt a constant learning mindset. Progress requires self-honesty.

Regularly exercising these followership skills will transform you into an empowered contributor and role model. But lasting improvement requires examining deeper motivations.

Adopting a Followership Mindset

More than developing specific skills, exemplary followership stems from the right mindset. How we perceive ourselves and relationships determines our impact. Here are key mental shifts for unlocking followership greatness:

See Leaders as Equals

Respect positions but remember leaders are just people too. Avoid counterproductive superior/subordinate dynamics. Strive for human-to-human interactions. Equality builds trust and community.

Focus on Service Not Status

Abandon ego-driven aspirations like titles and prestige. Instead derive meaning from empowering colleagues and organizations. Satisfaction follows from service.

Lead with Emotional Intelligence

Be self-aware. Manage negative emotions productively. Show empathy. Discuss feelings openly. Emotional intelligence nurtures healthy connections.

Value Diverse Perspectives

Differences in thought enrich teams with multidimensional insights. Respect and integrate diverse voices. This lifts up marginalized groups.

Commit to the Greater Good

Look beyond personal interests to the shared mission. A commitment to human-centered values breeds altruistic followership. Purpose fuels dedication.

Maintain Growth Mindset

Believe abilities can be developed with effort. Set learning goals. Embrace challenges. Persist through failures. Lifelong growth enables endless possibility.

Know Your Worth

Followership does not equate to subservience. Recognize your value and rights. Expect respect. Mediocre leaders need empowered followers.

Cultivating this enlightened mental framework leads to engaged, accountable followership that brings out the best in people and organizations.

Tips for Inspiring Great Followership

Leaders play a key role in developing strong followership. Here are some tips leaders can implement to inspire great followers:

Model Exemplary Followership

Lead by example. Demonstrate the qualities of engaged followers even as you hold authority. Building trusted relationships starts from the top.

Listen, Validate, and Empower

Create channels for two-way dialogue. Actively listen to ideas and concerns. Validate perspectives through words and actions. Empower followers by delegating ownership.

Develop People

Invest in mentoring, training, and skills development. Help followers gain confidence and competencies. Develop others’ leadership potential.

Express Appreciation

Recognize contributions publicly. Express genuine gratitude. People support what they help create, so appreciate participation. Gratitude nurtures engagement.

Build Community and Trust

Promote social connections and team identity. Follow through consistently on commitments. Trust flourishes in a culture of integrity. Community satisfies our core need for belonging.

Grant Autonomy

Avoid micromanaging. Provide high-level goals and let followers determine solutions. Autonomy fosters innovation and responsibility. Lead with a light touch.

Adopt Servant Leadership

Serve followers humbly by satisfying their needs and removing barriers. Enable their growth. Servant leadership builds trust and inspires service in return.

Leadership that empowers followers multiplies an organization’s capability, agility, and wisdom.

Key Takeaways on Improving Followership

Here are the major points to remember on developing your followership potential:

  • Great followers exhibit traits like competency, initiative, positivity, critical thinking, and continuous learning.
  • Crucial skills include communication, collaboration, strategic thinking, and delegating effectively.
  • Adopting a mindset of equality, service, and community enables impactful followership.
  • Inspire skilled followers by modeling desired behaviors and empowering others.
  • Followership intersects with leadership; excelling in both makes you an invaluable team asset.
  • With purposeful improvement, anyone can transform from passive to engaged follower.


Elevating your followership opens avenues for immense professional and personal growth. Followers ultimately determine the success of any leader. By uplifting leaders and organizations, empowered followers find empowerment for themselves.

This guide provided strategies to hone crucial followership traits centered on adding value to others, promoting progress, and achieving collective goals. A lifelong commitment to honing skills, mindsets, and motivations will enable you to serve as an empowered follower and leader.

The world needs more great followers who build community, nurture growth, and uplift leaders. We all play a mix of follower and leadership roles throughout life. Excellence in both realms creates positive change.With an enlightened understanding of contributorship and service, anyone can maximize their impact and fulfillment on teams.

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