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August's note from the Author

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August is always a beautiful month in Maine and hope you are enjoying it!!

Here is the second installation of what will eventually be the entire book.

Leaders aren’t leaders without followers.

This section is about followership and the effort that each leader needs to put into the ongoing work of being worthy of followers.

Success is the product of feedback and I hope you will provide us with lots of it as you read.

Please enjoy The Leadership Maker!



How A Vision Creates Followership

  1. Leadership and Delegation

     “The games afoot: Follow your spirit…”

      ~Henry V, William Shakespeare

Leaders need followers and vice versa 

In order for leaders to have an impact, they must provide a vision that describes the ideas, dreams, outcomes and the path to follow to achieve a defined goal. Without a clear vision, a leader cannot expect followers to know what is expected of them. 

follow meThis concept is kind of simple and it is surprising how many people don’t see the basic logic. It is impossible to lead without followers. Leadership is about influencing others. Followership is seeking and accepting that influence.

Maybe a good example lives in our government. It hasn’t always been this visceral. Bipartisan politics was the example for many years, and it has worked out. 

Don’t get me wrong, there have been pockets of bad behavior and resulting frustration with our system of governing going back to George Washington, but it is hard not to see the accelerating scale of darkness that lives in our nation’s Capital today and not get that ‘pit of the stomach’ feeling.

“Follow Me!”

I’m pretty sure I haven’t met anyone who believes it is working out well.

In an era of angry political bickering combined with endless news, there seems to be an absence of followers and a void in leadership. This absence in leadership leads to a negative cycle of revolving representation and a foundational lack of leadership in one direction and loyalty in the other. As we are learning, if leadership is absent, anyone can fill its void. People need and want strong, capable leaders. We all do. 

Much of what has created this void is the sound-bite cycle of 24-hour communication and a genuine lack of strong, values-based leaders. Media’s need for ratings and the power of social media has tapped into our declining attention spans and insatiable need for the flavor of the month, the quick impact phrase or ’sound bite’, labels that stick, and making all things black or white. Our world is a myriad of color. Leadership needs to be different. Words, and meaning that lives in values and behavior, are the solution that will last. The words matter.


Participation Foundation for Leaders

    1. Include employees in decision making;
    2. Have each person develop a plan for growth and development;
    3. Delegate to help them learn more;
    4. Have them share knowledge and skills with others.

Basics of motivation 

People want to be involved and asked for their input. There are a lot of parallels between raising children and leading. Children need our time and want our attention. Not always or constantly, but it is a foundational human need.

If there is a “problem child” in a family with more than one child, that child may receive a greater share of parental attention because of their bad behavior. This often leads to the other children ‘acting out’ to receive the attention of their parents.  

The workplace mirrors the family dynamic in this regard. By chasing every problem child around, there is a risk that high performers will not be noticed or receive the attention they need and silently want. Over time, these high performers may start to ask themselves why they are working hard and being ignored as they produce outstanding results.

In a worse-case scenario, they will stop being high performers altogether. Traditionally, high performers won’t fall all the way down to the bottom due to pride in themselves that pushed them to become high performers in the first place. 

In a workplace, we have a variety of ways to give employees attention. We can include them in projects, we can delegate responsibility, we can engage them in their own growth and development, and we can encourage them to share what they know and do with others.     

Delegate responsibilities

People need to receive routine and deeply genuine appreciation. Time after time in discussions of expectations from individuals in a team setting, the desire to appreciate is repeatedly expressed and hovers near the top of the list of 'must haves'.

Most of us run around saying things like; “I don’t need a pat on the back” or “My work is its own appreciation,” but our words and our true feelings about appreciation are often incongruent.

What seems to be true is that when appreciation is absent, it is missed and very much wanted. If you truly don’t need occasional appreciation, you are unique.

Think about how it might feel if your loved ones did not share what they appreciate about you. What if they never told you that they love you? How would you feel?  Would it make you wonder? To me, that is terrifying.  

Why Leaders struggle with appreciation

1. They are uncomfortable receiving praise personally

2. They don’t know how to give a compliment

3. They may think that employees receive their appreciation in their paycheck;


“Great job.”                  

“Thank you.”


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Ralph Twombly
Priority Learning

In the 20 years since starting Priority Learning, Ralph has facilitated countless learning experiences and has conducted training for thousands of managers and leaders. With over 30 years of leadership development and organizational development background and work, Ralph continues to build relationships with client companies all over the U.S.



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