The 5 Levels of Followership

A recent blog posting from Kate Nasser got me thinking.  She made the case that the opposite of leader is not follower.  Here is her post.

I agree with her, but struggle with a word that captures how people work AND facilitates a discussion that allows a leader and follower to share their perception of performance.  I propose the 5 levels, with Kate’s term being level 5.  Yes, I did borrow the concept from Jim Collins, but these are my words.  So here are the Five levels of Followership.

  1. Minimizer   – An individual that consumes oxygen in the workplace.  They are present, but getting things done is not a priority.  They measure their contribution by getting just enough done to stay employed.
  2. Doer – Do what they are asked consistently and with very little negative emotion.  Solid and very dependable.  Measure their contribution by getting done what is asked by when it was asked.
  3. Attractor – Do their job with joy, attracting customers both inside and outside of their organization.  Measure their contribution by the smiles they receive back and the work they get done.
  4. Improver – Does the work presented and looks for ways to improve the efficiency.  Measure their contribution by the dollars/time that they save or the improvements they make in the lives of their customers.
  5. Influencer – Someone who sees opportunities to alter strategies or activities that will have a big impact on the direction of the organization and the work that is being done.  Measure their contribution by the big things they get started and the opportunities they have to engage in work they consider to be significant.

It is always a great conversation to ask people how they perceive their contribution, then compare that with what you see.  Gaps drive more conversations.  Perpetual gaps indicate outcomes of conversations need to be written down.  Words and labels do matter, but great conversations matter more.

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