It is uncommon to find leaders shifting between organizations in today’s marketplace. However, is it worth following the leader when s/he moves?
Moving to another organization only for better economic prospects may not be a good idea.
Follow the leader’ is a common phrase; there are many instances when an influential leader attracts a core team to follow him/her when s/he changes organizations. However, there are different schools of thought pertaining to the benefits and the brickbats of such a move.
Executive Director, Blackstone Advisors Ltd, says that in a career spanning over 30 years, he has often seen people following their leader/s to different organization. While being uncertain about the benefits of such a move. Such a move can cause people to burn bridges with their old organization and lose respect, especially if the movement causes the previous employer to lose customers. He believes that such followership doesn’t speak too well of the leader either. When leaders move to other organizations, they should build new bridges and loyalties rather than rely on the security of having trusted comrades.
A young professional feels that following the leader undermines the organization. One joins an organization for his/her own sake and not for the leader. If a good leader comes along. It’s an added perk. “I will not follow the leader unless I myself wish to join the new organization”. One person doesn’t make an organization and it is a much bigger entity. But it’s important that a company bonds with its employees to build mutual trust.
However, there is also an element of no pain, no gain in the equation especially with regards to motivational leadership. Speaking from personal experience, Bharat, who heads the service operation to a leading tele-services company, explains, It is hard to find guys who drive people and lead by example. When a leader makes one feel comfortable, secure and clear about the future, the association breeds emotion and one may want to follow such a person into a different organization.
A young professional in the language field, corroborates, ‘when a leader is far superior in terms of knowledge and accomplishments, followership proves to be an immense learning experience’.
However, an analyst at a consultancy firm, feel that there are no right or wrong responses to the question of followers. Following a mentor, who has your best interests at heart is a good move, but it may prove to be negative if the new organization is not aligned to your goals, interest and skill sets. It is only justifiable if the previous organization is on the brink of bankruptcy and cannot be revived.
A Manager at a leading business group feels that followership is a consequence of a person’s risk profile and belief in the risk return paradigm. A person who is risk averse will never develop linkages that may lead to followers.
Manager says that careful assessment is vital before making the final move. If the leader is a cut above the rest, is a man of vision and repute and moving with him will enhance one’s career responsibilities, then it may be positive move. However, moving to another organization only for better economic prospects may not be a good idea. Also, making followership a habit can become a black spot in one’s career.
One should objectively view the situation and follow only when the leader appeals to ones values and beliefs and the move guarantees positive exposure and career growth.