I think the expression, “Blow in my ear and I’ll follow you anywhere” was first popularized in the late sixties when Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In was a favourite on TV. I was reminded of it the other day for some reason, and began to think about what it would take for me to follow someone anywhere. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
I’ll follow you anywhere if you…
Paint a picture of the future that includes me
If I can see where I fit and what I might contribute to bringing the picture out of the frame and into reality, I’m in.
Give me direction when I need it and freedom when I’ve earned it
Sometimes I need you to tell me what to do. But, when I know what I’m doing and have all I need to do the work, let me get on with it and I will make you proud.
Help me learn new things and be better than I was before
I want to learn and grow. I have dreams too. Give me what I need to build skill and have experiences that will help me learn. That way, I can be at my best now, when you need me, and in the future, when you won’t.
Ask for my opinion and then really listen when I give it
When I know you are truly interested in what I have to say, I will spend more time thinking about things that are important to both of us. You don’t always have to agree with me. Just listen; show me that you hear me; and understand where I’m coming from.
Expect more from me that I expect from myself
Hey, I’m human. I don’t always see what you see when you talk to me or watch me work. And, I’m not always that sure about my own capabilities. If you encourage and challenge me to stretch beyond what I think I can do and support me as I give it my best shot, my loyalty is yours.
Trust me first…
I know it’s tough. I’m going to make mistakes and that’s always worrying. But, if I know you are willing to trust me to do my best, I will work toward making you glad you did.
Laugh at yourself and with me
Simply put, if we can make each other laugh from time to time and take ourselves less seriously than the work, I will always enjoy working with you. Really.
Give me the straight goods about how I’m doing…
There are going to be times when I need you to tell something I might not want to hear. Please tell me anyway. If you do, I might be upset at first but will know where I stand. If you don’t, it won’t go away and more than likely will come back to bite me at a most inconvenient time. Put it to me honestly and with good intention and I will receive it with grace.
Live by the rules you set for me…
For the most part, I’m okay with rules. Ask me to follow them and I will, if you follow them too. Allow me to challenge them when they are getting in the way of my doing my job. Be open to changing them when necessary. If they can’t be changed, help me to understand why. Do that and I will respect and trust you.
Help me to celebrate my successes…
Acknowledgement of my accomplishments will always be appreciated. Enough said.
Help me to learn from my failures…
When I fail, believe me, I will punish myself enough for both of us. If, instead of punishment or blame, you offer me a chance to examine what went wrong and what I can do better the next time, my failure will have value. I will appreciate that.
Show me your courage and your confidence…
There is a certain feeling of reassurance when I see you stand up for your beliefs, values and the people who follow you, (especially when you stand up for me). When you do that, it makes me proud to be associated with you.
Show me your humanity…
I know you’re human too. I don’t expect you to be a super hero. If, from time to time, you show me that you too have doubts and moments of anxiety or fear, I will respect that and do my best to give you my support.
What would it take for you to follow someone anywhere? What have I left out? What does your boss have to do to gain, or keep, your loyalty? If you are a boss, what do you do to earn loyalty?