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Many people aspire to be great leaders who inspire others to work hard and to be the best they can possibly be, not just in work, but life as well. While these aspirations are certainly noble andworth chasing, not everyone is the next Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates, or even the regional manager of a small paper firm in Pennsylvania. In fact, the large majority of us will be following a leader throughout our lives. As one of the followers of the organization, you have more influence over the day to day operations than you might believe. Here’s how to be the most effective follower in steps.

1: Recognize that your boss is human too

It doesn’t matter if you think your boss is the worst person you’ve ever met or a reincarnation of mother goose, giving yourself perspective on their background will lead to a different attitude when your mean boss yells about staples or when your great boss forgets to do something that ends up affecting your job directly. You’ll find yourself more empathetic and forgiving towards leaders if you’ve attempted to look at their foundations. Do you want to be known as the victim who complains every time there’s a speedbump in the road, or would you rather be the unwavering example of what a great team member is?

2: Don’t badmouth your boss’ character

Really this goes for everyone that you work with, but the boss especially. Undermining your leader’s character behind their back weakens the team as a whole, because without knowing it, you’ve begun to create an air of uncertainty amongst the team, which will eventually begin to eat it from the inside out. This ties in well with number one, because when you deploy empathy, the ROI is always worth it.

3: Set great examples

It’s very easy to allow teammates to affect our productivity negatively if we aren’t careful. But through thoughtful practice and deliberate execution, we can influence other’s productivity in a positive and powerful manner. For example, let’s say your team has been working on a project with an approaching deadline, and multiple other team members have come to you to vent their frustrations. Remaining positive in these sorts of high stress situations can help show others it’s not the end of the world and can even help motivate others to be more like you. There are many different types of relationships in business, and one of the most difficult/least understood is that of the leader/follower relationship. These were a few examples of how a follower can positively influence this relationship without even necessarily interacting with the leader.