How to Get Followership and Create Good Relations as a Leader

How often do you see a company where a change does not reach the desired level of implementation, where the employees do not understand the change and where you (maybe unjustified) assume that the employees are against changes.

I dare to say that it happens rather often. But why is that?

People often emphasize KPI’s, measurable results and bottom lines! But where are the employees in the change? What are their opinions and feelings – maybe these are expressed through conflicts? What is the significance of relations in both smaller and bigger changes?

Getting results during a change (and while running a company regularly) is often both a difficult and underestimated task. So, what can we – as leaders – do to facilitate better changes?

Make sure that your relationships are in order. Anyone can be a boss, but a great leader is someone who gains followership.

4 Foundations of Good Management Results

Building a good and persistent followership definitely does not happen overnight but TWI Job Relations is your easy-to-use and powerful tool for working with your relationships and creating the best basis of gaining followership.

“Great relations equal great results” (and unfortunately vice versa) and with TWI Job Relations leadership or followership are build upon 4 foundations (see fact box):

4 Foundations

  • Let each person know how they are doing.
  • Give credit when due.
  • Tell people in advance about changes that will affect them.
  • Make best use of each person’s ability.

The 4 foundations sound rather simplistic, but how many leaders actually follow them in their day-to-day work?

By consciously/intentionally training the foundations (using at least 1 foundation every day) we make sure that we treat our employees as individuals and not just part of a bigger group trying to achieve a common goal. 

Ask yourself: What happens with an employee if they almost never receive any feedback on how they are doing? If they are uncertain about the future of and their future in the company? And what if they have a feeling of not using their skills and abilities in their work?

For me, the answer is clear: The employee is not thriving.

And if the employees are not thriving, the company will not obtain good results. And management can launch all the changes they want, but the employees will never join in.

Can We Avoid Conflicts?

But what about conflicts? They will still occur, right?

That is probably impossible to avoid. Even in a great day, there will be smaller conflicts and challenges that need resolving. And when we – the leaders – are leading through a change, the risk of conflicts might be bigger as the employees are finding their way in a new workday.

Luckily, potential conflicts can often be spotted in advance before they turn into real problems. And the earlier we spot a potential conflict, the easier it is to resolve.

With TWI Job Relations you enhance your ability to spot and handle conflicts and problems based on the 4 ways problems are identified:

  • The problem sized up before it happened (noticing in advance and preventing the problem)
  • You were being tipped off (being aware of the problem and solving the problem while it is small)
  • The problem comes to you (someone points out the problem for you to act on it)
  • You run into the problem (the conflict has already broken out and needs to be handled right now)

So, when would you rather resolve a conflict?

If you are not careful during a process of change you risk running into a problem just as you are implementing the change. So, why not be vigilant by identifying and resolving conflicts as early as possible. In that case we do ourselves a favor by considering our options in advance.

Prepare For Challenges Before They Appear

How do you successfully prepare for the process of change? In addition to the other tools, TWI Job Relations provide a way to identify the challenges a change might bring. I call this “The Recipe of Leadership”. 

Just as TWI Job Instruction, TWI Job Relations consists of 4 steps.

Before we go through the steps, we need to determine our goals: Which potential challenge/conflict are we trying to solve and what is the purpose of solving it.

Once we have determined our goal, we are ready to go through the 4 steps.

  1. Get the facts
  2. Weigh and decide
  3. Take action
  4. Check results

By getting familiar with this model you – as a leader – will become aware of the importance of each step.

When you get the facts, it is important to know the entire story. That way you will be able to make a good and well-considered decision. When making this decision it is essential not to jump to conclusions but instead consider the consequences of your decision regarding goals, employees (as individuals as well as groups) and the running of the company.

Once you are done gathering facts and considering your decision, you are ready to take action. In this step, it is important that you claim the responsibility that comes with being the leader. You need to make sure that the timing of the change is right to ensure that the employees are ready for the change. If you act prematurely, you might leave someone behind, but on the other hand there comes a time when you can no longer wait. You need to ask your self how to make sure that everyone is on board.

The quick-witted will point out that once the change or any other decision has been executed, we have completed the challenge based on a fact-based model of solution and thus our work is done. However, it is essential to check on our results.

As leaders we often move on very quickly and forget the follow-up. When we do follow up and evaluate the impact on deliveries, behavior, and relations we realize whether our production benefited from our action and if we reached our goal. This may be a quite structured method but by using it in your day-to-day work challenges you will get to know it like the back of your hand and benefit from it in smaller conflict as well as bigger organizational changes. That is my promise to you.




Principles of Good Job Relations

  • Job Relations are built on 4 solid foundations
  • Get into problems when they are small
  • Solve problems with the 4-Step Method
  • People must be treated as individuals

Getting results through people

Want to Know More About TWI?

The yearly Danish TWI and Toyota Kata conference and European TWI & Kata Summit are good places to start. Read more at https://twikatakonference.dk/ and https://twiandkatasummit.eu/.

Your next step could also be:

If you have any questions to the content in this article or to Training Within Industry (TWI) in general, you are most welcome to ask them directly to one of our Enablers, or by calling us. 

No matter what you do, it all starts with you daring to take the lead. 

About the author

Senior Operations & Innovation Officer - TWI and Processes, Jyske Bank