Projects and paperwork are managed, but people are led. If we lead well — people will follow. A title does not make a leader. A leader is someone others want to follow. If you want to attract followers be…

Someone who has both the employees’ and the company’s best interests at heart
Training, setting goals, and giving expectations all make for a leader people will want to follow. Sharing a vision and a plan — even more so. When a leader can get the job done, show pride in the work, and have fun doing it, they are almost irresistible.

Someone who readily hands out recognition
Recently, a manager bragged to me about a member of his team, describing in detail how they took initiative. I asked the manager how the employee reacted when he was told this. The employee hadn’t been told. If you want people to repeat positive activities – recognize the behavior. Most will follow your lead.

Someone they can talk to — who listens
This is not complicated. Listen to ideas and keep an open mind. That’s it. While it’s a compliment to be asked to listen to your teammates’ non-work related concerns — don’t let it interfere with getting the job done. Unless they directly affect work, consider taking non-work related conversations to lunch or after hours.

Someone who includes teammates within the team
If you want to build a team, make every member part of the team. Seek input, ideas, and advice. Promote plans as team initiatives by involving the team in the planning. If you want followers, don’t just tell people what to do, but show them how to do it and explain why it’s done that way.

Someone who treats others fairly
This is often confused. Fair doesn’t have to be equal, but should be equitable. Don’t play favorites, but if tenured teammates deserve consideration because of their accumulated contributions – give it to them. It would be unfair to treat a dependable, tenured teammate the same as an unproven new employee.

Someone who sets a good example
Keep in mind, your direct reports will often copy your weaknesses before they copy your strengths. Believe me, they watch and learn. Teach them traits you admire through your actions. If you relish team members with character traits such as dependability, loyalty, honesty, attentiveness, and thoroughness – demonstrate those characteristics to your team.

Leadership is service. It’s about giving, not taking. To be a leader, you must attract followers. To attract followers, people must know you care. Your direct reports should be more efficient because of your leadership, not the other way around. Do you help others become better at what they do? Are you someone others want to follow because they know they can count on you? Ask yourself – “would you follow you?”