Building great followership

Leadership trust relationships - Kairos Blog by Tania West

As has been wisely said, leaders without followers are simply taking a walk- but what does it mean to create quality follower-ship?

In my experience of working with hundreds of executives, managers and CEO’s one critical skill stands out:

The ability to build trusting relationships


Here are three tips:

    1. Be appropriately vulnerable- genuine humility is absolutely irresistible it just draws people in. I had the privilege at a recent leadership conference to hear Archbishop Justin Welby and Cardinal Schonborn speak about their own leadership journey; by the end of their interviews over five thousand people were on their feet applauding. Was it great theological exposition that roused people? Or compelling vision? No, rather two great leaders being authentic, vulnerable and exposing their humanity in a way that resonated with everyone.


    1. Cultivate the art of being fully present- anyone can “pretend listen” or inquire how a member of their team is feeling, but great leaders have the ability to give exquisite attention even in a few moments. This kind of attention involves aligning our minds, hearts and intuition to listen as attentively to the spaces between the conversation as the conversation itself. To “see” as much with our hearts as our eyes.


  1. Call out the potential you see – everyone has latent talent, capability and potential. Great leaders “see” beyond what “is” to what “could be” and then they name it and literally “call it”- this is way beyond flattery or even recognition for a job well done, it involves the ability to elicit the greatness that is in everyone.

As we build trusting relationships by manifesting genuine humility, being fully present and eliciting the greatness already present we build the kind of follower-ship that enables us to, in the words of Jim Collins, take our leadership from “Good to great” and ensure that we are not just taking a walk after-all !