Kurt Madden, in his book The Synergetic Follower: Changing Our World Without Being the LeaderÂ introduced me to the phrase “managing up.” When an employee – the “follower” – notices when the leader is about to make a bad decision, is in need of information, or is struggling with a project outside his or her skill set. The wise follower will offer their opinion, gather the necessary information, or offer to take on part of the project. This is “managing up,” taking the initiative to assist the leader do their job more successfully.
Most of us think a good follower is aÂ yes-man or yes-woman. But in the words of Madden, “Good leaders know they don’t have all the wisdom and knowledge, so finding followers, who complement their own strengths, is a top priority” (Madden 142). Business leaders need staff-people who are willing to take a risk to assist them, care for them, and help them, and the company, be successful. The same is true of our church leaders.