The California coast has the highest concentration of dolphins per square mile than anywhere in the world. Last month while on holiday at Laguna Beach, we took a boat out and coasted in the middle of a thousand-strong pod. It was an incredible sight to watch them swimming, jumping, and following each other in perfect harmony. The largest pods are 100,000 strong. It made me think of the followership that successful leaders create and there are five ways to rapidly achieve this:
1. Know what you stand for.
What is important to you? What results will you reward and recognize? Discover first how amazing you are by defining your leadership voice, that will help others understand who you are as a leader.
2. Share who you are.
Don’t start a blog or create a Twitter account because you feel you should. Only do it if you want to regularly communicate with your customers, employees and investors. Take a look at these 17 ways to communicate and inspire your team. Social media is just one option; don’t let it distract you.
3. Make thoughtfully ruthless decisions.
Leaders lose followers because of the decision dilemmas they create. Fast results are achieved when everyone is clear on how decisions are made, yet too often there is confusion. Clarify with your team how you make decisions and what you expect from them. If you are too thoughtful--or too ruthless--you will lose followers. People don’t have to agree with your decisions, just understand them. You are the boss after all. Indecision is worse than a bad decision. If you would like a copy of my Decision Dilemma tool to rapidly increase your speed and effectiveness of your decisions, please contact me.
4. Learn and remember names.
Research has proven that dolphins have unique names, which are a series of whistles that they respond to. That is what helps keep their mega-pod together. As your team grows, you may find it harder to remember names of every single person, but it is worth the extra effort. Create team lists with photos, and spend a few minutes before each meeting checking who will attend. Make your own notes of who you have met and something important about them so you can refer to it next time you meet.
5. Become an industry expert.
Burst outside of your usual bubble of influence by participating in events, conferences, and discussions relevant to your industry and expertise. This will help you become known outside of your current company and internal network. Start with trade publications you read and conferences you attend, and find out how you can submit stories or talk at an event.
Captain Dave took us out on his boat in Dana Point, California, to view the dolphin mega pods, and he is a great example of creating followership. He has produced a documentary; written an award-winning book, Lily, A Gray Whale's Odyssey, a magnificent photographic journey of a gray whale's migration; and appeared on the Ellen show. Follow these tips to create your own mega-pod following today.