5 reasons teams choose to follow leaders

There is no shortage of people in leadership roles, but what makes teams choose to follow some leaders and remain loyal? Here are five reasons.

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Image: Prostock-Studio, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Having a leadership role or playing the role is one thing; being a leader worth following can be a lot trickier. Here are five reasons teams choose to faithfully stand by some leaders over others. 

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Leaders consistently keep their word

Whether favorable or unfavorable news has to be shared with their teams, good leaders are transparent and communicate in a timely manner. If they promise something, they keep their word and avoid making promises that they are unable to deliver. This level of consistency is something that teams of any kind can rely on and appreciate. Establishing this high level of trust makes it easy for teams to develop comfort and a strong sense of loyalty. Ultimately, trust is one of the most important factors that determine whether team members will follow one leader above another.

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Leaders go to bat for their team

Teams tend to watch leaders closely to see if they are showing support for them during times of need. From getting the right tools and championing projects, to putting forth innovative ideas, leaders are always under scrutiny. When leaders demonstrate that they are willing to back their teams, team members feel supported and are much more likely to be loyal. This concept is strictly a matter of human nature. It's almost impossible to expect support if you are unwilling to give it.

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Leaders demonstrate fairness

One common issue team members complain about is preferential treatment, whereby one person seems to receive more accolades, more support, and more opportunities from leaders than other team members. When leaders do this, they not only create animosity among team members; they also create resentment between team members and themselves. Once resentment becomes embedded in the minds and actions of the team, it can impact daily interactions, productivity, and ultimately entire projects. Remaining fair with all team members establishes trust and paves the way for better working relationships all around.

Leaders provide opportunities

Having opportunities has always been an important factor in job satisfaction and employee retention. You, as a leader, have likely been mentored and provided opportunities that have led to your current role. It only stands to reason that you, in turn, should encourage team members to take on higher-level responsibilities and take on new roles that lead to advancement. As a leader, it's essential for you to remember that all team members have the same aspirations for career advancement as you did throughout your career. By helping others succeed in their career, you're more likely to be admired for your selflessness. Ultimately, this can help you develop stronger working relationships with those whom you've mentored.

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Leaders communicate well and often

Communication is, by far, one of the essential elements of being a good leader. Frequent, clear, and honest communication with teams helps to alleviate anxiety, stress, and misunderstandings. When teams receive regular feedback, timely updates on projects, and company initiatives, team members feel included and valued by you specifically. In turn, when team members feel valued, they are more likely to remain loyal and follow your lead.

Being trustworthy, and demonstrating through your actions that you are fair and willing to support, mentor, and openly communicate will make it easy for your team members to remain loyal to you as a leader.

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