Are You Green and Growing or Ripe and Rotting? Skills of Followership

In yesterday’s Advisor, expert Cory Bouck defined the concept of “followership” and the roles of a follower in a dodgeball world. Today he shares the best career management advice he’s ever received—and more skills necessary in followership.

Bouck, who is the director of organizational development and learning at Johnsonville Sausage, LLC, and author of The Lens of Leadership: Being the Leader Others WANT to Follow (Aviva Publishing, 2013), shared his advice on multigenerational leadership at the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) Annual Conference and Exposition held recently in Las Vegas.

The Best Career Management Advice

A former naval flight officer, Bouck recounted his time as a “nugget” (that is, rookie) in a squadron. While trying to learn the ropes of the job and fit in on the team, a senior officer handed Bouck a Post-It® note that contained what he describes as the best career management advice ever. On the note was written:

Be productive
Be innovative
Be the expert
Be polite

It’s as simple as that. These are all characteristics of great followers—and, in turn, great leaders.

By 2025, three out of every four workers will be Millennials. Now, consider that 63 percent of U.S. executives will be eligible to retire in the next five years, yet Generation X is not large enough to fill this leadership gap. Join us for a live webinar on Tuesday, September 15th on Next-Generation Leadership to gain a clear understanding of the Millennial generation!

The 4 Ps of Branding

Part of good followership is effectively maintaining your own personal brand as an employee. Bouck says when considering your brand, ask yourself this: Is it green and growing or ripe and rotting?
To stay green, always remember the 4 Ps:

  • Product. The product is you! What are your unique features and benefits that help drive a team?
  • Price. What value are you providing?
  • Place. Are you “on the right bus,” as Bouck puts it? That is, are you in the right place to get your features and benefits noticed?
  • Promotion. Are you known for your features and benefits? Are you receiving word-of-mouth promotion from coworkers? Are you effectively promoting yourself?

Next-Generation Leadership: Three Proven Ways to Strengthen Your Leadership Bench: Participate in this interactive webinar on September 15 and learn more about emerging trends that are shaping Millennials’ perception of leadership and work so you can better manage your workplace. Register now!

Why Is It Important?

There’s a lot of talk out there about leadership, but not enough about its foundation—which is good followership, says Bouck. He adds that almost every major problem in the country can be attributed to a leadership problem—and in a multigenerational workforce where roles of follower and leader are paradoxically simultaneous, followership is more important than ever.
“So, why is this important?” Bouck asked the conference crowd again.
“Because business is dodgeball,” came the response.