Think of a situation where you have “followed” and by doing so showed leadership. Share your experience on the online discussion forum.
A situation where by following I felt like a leader was this past school year working in a team of EA’s who worked with sone very complex children.
One student in particular had a psychiatric diagnosis, was difficult to work with, and could be violent. A young EA on our team had a similar background and diagnosis and could relate very well to this student when no one else could. She really had a way with this girl and understood her and her behaviours really well. She had a communication style with this student that worked well and taught us how to communicate with this girl in good times and bad and how to deescalate situations with this girl when they came up.
Although this EA did not have a great deal of education, her experience, insight, and compassion helped to guide us in the care of this student and made for a more positive and happy environment for the students and staff.
That’s a great example. Letting people do something that they can do better is the greatest way to lead. Especially working in the public this is key because we cannot please everyone, and everyone responds to things/people differently. Sometimes it best to let others take the lead and you follow.
Recently we had a new team member that I was helping to get orientated to our team. I began this process by showing them our processes and brief demonstrations of how we document. We get assign tasks to work through and I had the person assigning tasks assign them to the new member. I let them go through their task, decide how to approach them and give advice when they’d ask. I would attend their meetings as a participant and let them know how well they were adjusting on the team. We also provide education to new employees in our team and I would sit as a participant in their training sessions and allowing them to lead and develop their process. They taught me things that I didn’t know.
It’s so easy to jump in and take over but this mentorship was the best result for me as a leader because they developed more as I followed them then allowing them to follow me. They are now a strong member on our team and we have a great working relationship because of it.
An experience I have with being a follower that led to me becoming a leader, would be when I was being trained by very experienced nurses. They showed me the ways of the floor, tips and tricks with tasks, and time management skills. They gave me the confidence I needed to succeed. To this day, I still follow their advice except now I’m independently performing tasks and I am able to share my training when orientating others.
I am able to watch our new staff progress and grow as part of our team and support them every step of the way. Even though we work along side each other, I am still there to watch them thrive, and provide words of encouragement when needed.
Wow, I had never realized before that so much of my confidence as a PSW came from having a good leader teach me well. What an excellent point you made! Building confidence in followers is really just setting them up to be good leaders. I appreciate that you helped me to see that!
I like Nicole’s post about continuing the lessons she learned from those who trained her earlier in her career. These must have been some very influential leaders whose advice, tips, and tricks were well worth following and certainly had knowledge worth sharing with others.
Through my PSW years, I asked the staff I worked with many many questions (why do we do it like that? What would happen if we did this instead? What does this mean?). Unfortunately, more often than not, I was met with responses like “This is how we’ve always done it”, & “This is how I was taught”. I so badly wanted to know the whys of what we were doing, even if it was down to why a pillow is placed a specific way between a residents legs. One RPN in particular did rounds with me on night shift and she was, (and I hadn’t realized it at the time), an excellent leader. She was patient and gave me answers to everything I wanted to know, and if she didn’t know, she admitted it and looked for the answer. No matter how busy or stressful our night got, she never cut corners but worked efficiently and always treated the residents with dignity and respect. Because she was a great leader, I was eager to follow. Now in the RPN role, who has done many rounds with PSW’s, I am the one who does the work not just the way it’s always been done but with purpose. And when I am asked how I did something, or why it is done that way, I take the same initiative that that nurse gave me some 16 years ago and explain why I am doing what I am doing, and if I am not sure of something, I admit it and help look for the answer.
A few of the things that you said really resonated with me – “doing things not just the way it’s alway been done but with purpose,” and that when we don’t know something, to admit it- to be honest- and find an answer. I believe these are two extremely important qualities for good followers and good leaders to possess.
A good leader does make more eager followers. But it sounds like you already had qualities that made you a good worker. Being interested, curious, and questioning things with the mindset of bettering things is so important. Kudos!
I firmly believe that in order to be a good leader you must be a good follower. If you are able to manage yourself to be an excellent asset of a team and a strong support for the overall goals and vision of an organization, you are essentially training yourself to one day be a good leader and in turn recognize strong qualities in followers in the future.
I am a critical thinker and active communicator and I am motivated by making my work place the best it can be, by providing the best care possible. I did what I could to assist my manager and by being a follower who lifted her and her work up I was chosen for a leadership position on my team that I am so glad to be in.
I was the new RPN on a surgery unit. I was orientated to the position by skilled, experienced RN’s and RPN’s who modelled the job, taught me new skills and how the unit functioned. After some time, I was a valued member of the team. One morning during report my assigned patient list included a coworker who had emergency surgery. She and I had worked together often, and she had oriented me when I had first started. She was my patient for a couple of 12-hour day shifts. I received a personal thankyou note from her after she was discharged home thanking me for the care, I provided to her. She was specific in her compliments. Looking back, I see this confirms a situation where I followed and by doing so showed leadership. Many things I learned as a follower on that unit I have continued to share with other coworkers and patients. You never know when they might be the same.
All your situations make the statements in our reading material so relevant. Valerie’s comments about the EA are a great example of “Leadership is identifiable set of skills and abilities that are available to anyone”. The fact it made positive environment for students and staff shows that this EA was built on her strengths. Chrisitianna made the point about participating in training sessions but ultimately letting new staff develop their process. What a great way to build relationships and learn from each other.
Thanks Ladies your experiences show that leaders and followers are synonymous.
A situation in which I followed and by doing so showed leadership. Hmmm, I have been a nursing resource nurse and during that time I followed the lead of the med surg floor team lead. Whoe would lead by example ie move pt a to room 5, she would be with us moving the pt. I continued that on every floor I have worked on. By being a good follower, I knew who to follow, when to follow and how to follow.
I very often am the follower when going in to complete Support Visits and/or Task Training with the PSWs as they are the ones who see the clients each day, they are aware of the clients preferences, the home environment, routine etc.
When scheduling training for EG: a mechanical lift client, I will always inquire with the PSWs and/or client re: timing of task to avoid any disruption in routine
I will ask the PSWs if they have any tricks or tips to share with me and/or the other PSWs assigned to the client, ask what works well or what they feel is difficult or could be better done in a different way
I then review the task specific requirements and expectations, complete a demonstration and then have the PSWs complete a return demonstration
If there are client specific addendums to the task as noted via the PSW team; those are included in the care plan and shared with the whole team
I find that if able; completing group training for client specific tasks is always better than 1:1 with a supervisor and a PSW, as I find that when with their peers, they may feel more open to have discussions and I find a higher value and return from the team when they feel engaged and heard and their tricks, tips and suggestions are implemented into the client specific care plan
When I train new hires, there’s been many times that I think back to how I was trained as a student nurse and in a new workplace. Typically, the nurses would do the tasks and I’d be considered their second hand, going to fetch things or just simply sitting and watching them chart. There was one nurse who threw me in full force from day one and I respected her for it. It allowed me to have control of the shift yet I still had someone there to give me simple reminders and ques of what they would do at a certain time or how to allow their shift flow more smoothly. I allow new hires that I’m training to take control and I’m alongside them helping with questions and suggestions.
Thank you all for sharing! These are great, robust and colourful stories to learn from. The idea of leading by following is so much about setting an example. It may be a new policy at your workplace, that you may not even agree with, but by being that follower, you are demonstrating to others the importance of the change and how doing what is expected of you is part of leadership – and shows others the way. You have some great examples here about situations and others that you have learned from. Each of these stories is furthering all of our education. Thank you!
Looking at the strategic plans to include programing for different populations and ensure that we are a leader in community MH as it relates to LGBTQ2S+, Indigenous, Black, Francophone populations. I sought out different training opportunities for my staff to participate in in-services and workshops, I included the staff in looking for ideas and suggestions and discussed with them what areas they wanted to become more familiar with and if they had any suggestions on community partners that they may have been involved with for training. I expressed to the staff the importance of keeping us at the top of community MH and how this will help out current clients that may be struggling or may want to learn more about these populations. This is helping to fill the need of some of our clients and provides learning opportunities for the staff