Hot Tip for Being A Leader People Want to Follow

This tip will help you create followership, whether you are: Crew 2010

  • giving tough feedback,
  • engaging an audience,
  • motivating a team,
  • guiding a friend or family member through a tough time,
  • building your business,
  • leading an athletic team to higher levels of performance,
  • teaching middle schoolers,
  • parenting,
  • wanting followership anywhere

At or With?

The world is full of people who operate with an attitude of “At”.  Truth is, we’ve all done it.  We were in a hurry or stressed out and started talking “At” other people rather than with them.   In this state of “At”, we unconsciously view other people in one of three ways:

  1. Obstacles  – preventing us from having or getting what we want
  2. Vehicles — for having or getting what we want
  3. Irrelevant — not worth our time, energy or attention

The Problem with “At”

Being “At” people damages relationships and generally makes life harder for yourself and others.  It has a quality of being against; it pushes. “At” fuels distrust, upset, resentment, resistance, anger, shouting, and sometimes even violence. “I’m right! You’re wrong!”  When operating from “At”, the best you can hope for, in terms of followership, is to gain the appearance of compliance.

The Benefit of  “With”

Pinky swear“With” attracts rather than pushes. It is like standing beside someone, conveying that you are on their side, an ally.  Together, you are looking at problems or challenges and together you are coming up with solutions and goals. When you are “With” someone you can create genuine Followership because being “With” does not invalidate other views, opinions, or beliefs.  Instead, it makes room for differences while creating alignment.

When you are “With”, you invite others to join you. When you are “At”, you seek to defeat, compete, be right or be better than the other person.

“At” is the ego’s attempt to get a cheap hit of power.  Power over others.

“With” is the heart’s desire for genuine personal power.  Power with others.

How to Get With the “With” Program

First — make a personal commitment to be “With”.  Be honset with yourself:  are you viewing anyone as an obstacle, vehicle, or irrelevant?  Practice connecting human being to human being.

Second —  how  do you treat people you don’t know very well: store clerks, other drivers on the road, customer service people, etc.?  If you can bring the spirit of “With” here, it will be easier in other areas.

Third — bust yourself.  Tell others about this tip.  Ask for feedback on how you are doing.

Fourth — take on the exercise below.



What is one situation where you have been predominately “At” and are now willing to redefine your position and be “With”?  What would being “With” look like, sound like, and feel like? What would be the impact of this type of shift  — on you, on others, on the environment?  Take action, communicate, or otherwise engage people in this situation from an attitude of “With” and notice what happens.  (Give it more than one shot.)