The Art of Followership – Navigating the Devil’s Triangle Part II

You’ve met Loyalty, now for the second and third tips of the Devil’s Triangle:


To the point, if you cannot communicate you cannot control. If you cannot control, you cannot effectively lead. You will enter the HiPo Triangle and never be seen again.

The essence of communication: what do you know, who did you tell, what are you doing about it. Sounds simple in theory, yet reality points to this being one of the most difficult things for an up and coming leader to master.

Information has to move. As the circulation of ocean currents affect the weather, the circulation of information affects an organization. Some are fearful of passing information that is bad news. We all know the cliche about bad news and wine. Some feel there is little need to pass along information that is good news. Some feel the only time to pass information is at the weekly or monthly meeting.

The quickest way to stand out as a beacon of light in the HiPo Triangle is being a master communicator. It is passing the bad news along with what actions are being taken to mitigate the situation and recommendations, note that is plural, for permanent solutions. The good news is passed as quickly as practicable and passed with the liberal use of the pronoun, we. We were able to complete task ABC early and saved the organization $XYZ,000 in the process. Holding information for some standard meeting time can cause the organization or your team to miss an opportunity that may not repeat itself.

Effective communication moves in every direction of the organizational compass. What you know is passed up the organization’s hierarchy, down to your team and across to your peers.



Always give options, and a recommended way of proceeding with the reasoning for your recommendation.

Communication will be addressed again in an upcoming blog post. It is that important.

The leader establishes the lines of communications. How is the team to communicate, when, and how often?

Communicating up the chain of responsibility is often an area leaders have problems accomplishing. Ask upon receiving the task the questions how often, when and how you should communicate. It will be appreciated.


Implementation is the salient measure of the High Potential’s worth to the organization. It is producing desired results.

Accomplishing the task at hand very often is a direct function of establishing loyalty, and effectively communicating what needs to be done and why to the team. Implementing a task requires a process. I offer this one – SAC-IS – Start planning, Analysis, Complete your plan, Issue your tasks to the team and Supervise.

Start planning – ensure the required results are clearly understood

      • Identify sub-tasks required to produce the end results

Analysis – resources required to accomplish the results

      • Trained and capable personnel
      • Any additional training required
      • Material
      • Budget
      • Time – 1/3; 2/3’s Rule – 1/3 of the time is for you to plan, 2/3 of the time is given to those who must accomplish the task

Complete the plan – all subtasks are identified.

      • Match resources to each subtask (this includes the right person to the right task)
      • Prioritize subtasks
      • Establish how the team will communicate both formally and informally

Issue the tasks to the team – ensure the expected result is stated clearly and understood.

      • Ensure the subtasks are clearly stated and tied to the result

Supervise – this is the most important part of the process.

      • Once a task is given the High Potential does not walk away-task past is not a task completed
      • Monitor resources
      • Look for opportunities to improve the process
      • Constantly available to the team

The art of followership is one of the most overlooked yet important aspects of becoming an exceptional leader. It is one of the three points of the High Potential Triangle requiring a keen eye to steer clear of rocks and shoals.

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