I knew a man who was never known to be a great leader.
He was, however, a great follower.
A great follower must have very definable qualities. He had them all.
He was obedient, yet curious. Kind and soft spoken, yet hard working and truthful. When asked his opinion on a subject in which he was not expert, he quickly admitted: “I do not know.”
He was honest and ethical in all he did.
He was eager to help explain solutions to problems he had knowledge of because he liked to serve others.
He had little money, yet he gave abundantly of his time and talent to anyone he could help.
He often asked if he could help others who were unaware of what he had to offer.
He was modest and humble and not ashamed to copy the actions of those he admired.
As an Assistant Scout Master, he served his Troop leaders without question or complaint. As a little league coach, he readily deferred to the suggestions of the more athletic dads. He even engaged certain mom’s on how to handle behavioral issues – of players and parents.
He was a great encourager. Even when the undertakings involved seemed out of reach or even farfetched. Just ask his kids.
He was a man of faith and obedient to the guiding Word. He loved to serve anyone in their faith in anyway he could, even seeking others to help where he could not.
This man had a great personal demeaner. Easy to get along with, with most anyone under all conditions. Rarely did he criticize his bosses (or political leaders), even when he had a different view.
People liked him and they said so often to him and to others.
That man was my dad. He died recently at age 87.
As I reflected this week on who my dad was, I realized, as an employer, I would love to hire someone like him as my employee. He’s the kind person employers want.
For all you employer’s out there trying to hire good talent in a very tight labor pool it may be time to change your focus. It may be time to hire for character and invest in training for technical skills development.
For those employees who seek to improve their condition, remember, to become a good leader you will be well served learning how to first become a good follower. The best bosses were at some point good employees who followed instructions well.
The best organizations to be a part of all have identifiable core values. Written or otherwise, you can tell a lot about an organization by how the leaders and followers behave together. The good ones, do it all the time very consistently with little variance. And they always seem to enjoy each other’s company. They get along, together.
Most of us have room for improvement.
So, start now. Train your good people so they can advance. Reduce the need to compete for additional talent and create your own. Let these people help you identify, define, and improve the core values that have led to your success.
(Roger Nagel, CPA/PFS, CMA, CGMA, is the managing director of Nagel CPAs, LLC – Accountants and Advisors, serving the middle Rio Grande Valley and beyond. Learn more at nagelcpa.us.)