Are you on Auto-Follow with your People?

13 04 2010

Photo by Graur Razvan Ionut /

I was really excited when I jumped onto twitter to find my followers had jumped by a dozen over night. I thought to myself “wow….people are starting to get me!”. Then another 5 or so followers, then 10, then 20, 30, and 40 in a day. I’ve seen my followers triple in the last 24 hours.

Something must be working!

80! Eighty new followers in a matter of hours. What had I done to elicit such a massive response? Had I tweeted that most profound of 140 characters, blowing so many people away that made them stop and think “hey, I should be watching this guy”

Ok, know I sound a little conceited, but I’m sure anyone with a twitter account has found in the early days that buzz when someone follows. It’s cool to get a follower, even cooler to get a follower you don’t know. It must mean your message is getting out there. As a leader, do you get that buzz when you assume something YOU have done has generated some excitement across your team, only to realise when you take the time to look at the “Why” of the response, it was because of unrelated activity?

What did I do?

So whilst reviewing my blogs, my tweets, my Facebook trying to discover that little jem that I need to capitalise on, I discovered something else.


Don’t get me wrong, I am sure there are some very busy people out there who want to be informed, connected to/with, amused, etc.  I follow people I think have something worthwhile to tweet. Could be information about business, health, friends, or interesting/quirky comments. I won’t just follow because you follow me. I don’t want to be followed because I follow you.

Are you on Auto Follow with your People?

This gets me thinking about how often we are on “Auto-follow” with our people. Are you caught up in the day-to-day of your business, do you ‘auto-follow’ requests from your people?

It’s easy to give a quick yes or no to your team’s requests without making time to think through the impact or the benefits of their needs. It’s easier to say yes rather than deal with conflict, or no rather than taking time to trust your people’s ideas have merit –  both approaches potentially lead to greater conflict because you did not think through the issue or idea in the first place, because you reacted on auto-follow.

As a manager, it’s your role to provide the resources for your people to do their job. It doesn’t mean you need to be the expert in all things. Thinking about a leadership role I was recently offered, I was reluctant to put myself forward for fear that I don’t have the knowledge required to lead this particular group. I realised that my role is to help bring out the best in the team, to use the skills, knowledge and experience of a great team, rather than trying to solve all the problems myself.

Will you Auto-Follow, Lead your team today?




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