Are You A Tough Act To Follow?

By Lakecia Carter, PMP

If you’ve ever left a job or moved on from a project, someone may have told you that you would be a “tough act to follow”. This usually means you had outstanding performance and it will be difficult to fill your shoes. When it comes to leadership, there could be a negative meaning to this common phrase. Being a tough act to follow could mean that you are making it difficult for others to follow your lead. This can eventually contribute to low team morale and even stifle creativity. Here are 4 things you can do to make sure you are NOT a tough act to follow:

  1. Listen. Listen with intention and understanding. Everyone with an idea needs to be heard whether you agree with or not. Turn off all distractions and focus on making a connection with people.
  2. Learn. Learn something new every day. Learning keeps you relevant and relatable to your teams. If you aren’t learning, you aren’t growing.
  3. Laugh. When you have a sense of humor, it lightens the load. If you don’t take yourself too seriously, it will help others to relax. There’s nothing wrong with having fun and enjoying your project. There will be times when you aren’t laughing at all. At the end of the day, it’s all about maintaining a healthy balance.
  4. Love. Yes, I used the word “love”. Showing that you care has a huge impact on teams. There are times when teams need praise and times when they need ‘tough love’. You don’t have to wear your emotions on your sleeve, but you should be passionate about what you do.

Being a tough act to follow can be positive or negative. It’s up to you to decide which kind of impact you will have on those you lead. If you always listen, learn, laugh and love as you lead by example, you will be a tough act to follow…in a good way!

Please share some of the qualities that make your teams want to follow your lead!


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