“Followership, like leadership, is a role and not a destination.” – Michael McKinney
I sat down with some friends over coffee and the discussion quickly moved on to the topic of leadership, and someone defined leadership as taking the lead and having people follow you. This got me thinking not about the leader but the follower who has put his or her trust in the leader in the hope of getting to particular destination.
Without followers, there can be no leaders. The leader is the person in the group who has decided on the direction and destination and has inspired, convinced and motivated the others to follow. Followers agree to be led and thus give credibility to leadership.
More than ever before, the world needs leaders. We need good, strong and visionary leaders. However, most of us are followers. In fact all of us whether we consider ourselves leaders or not will at some time play the role of followers. There will be numerous times where in one setting such as your workplace, you are the number one leader and yet in another setting such as your church, you have to diligently follow another.
To lead others, you must be the leading force in your life. You have to have a direction, goal or objective you want to accomplish. Your success in achieving your goals will depend on your ability, discipline and commitment to follow through on your decisions. You the leader are thus your number one follower. You set examples for others to follow, you show by your disciplined action what it means to be committed to a vision and you model the change that you want to see in others. It therefor follows that to be a good leader you must know how to follow.
Here are a few things that will make you a good follower:
1. Get the job done. To lead and follow effectively, you need to get the job done. It is your responsibility to get the job done. Don’t hang around waiting for instructions. You may be the boss in your other role but here you are required to follow.
2. Grow yourself as a person. To be continually effective as a follower, you must grow and up skill yourself. As your organization grows form five to five thousand employees, you as a follower will need to have grown into a person capable of leading ten, hundred and eventually one thousand other followers.
3. Serve your leader. This is not a very popular word. As a follower, it is important that you take the weight off your leader. Make his job easier by not being a clog in the wheel. Be obedient to instructions and contribute all you can to get the vision accomplished without grumbling or complaining.
The challenge for you as you progress on your leadership journey is to commit your time energy and other resources to serve diligently where every you find yourself in the role of a follower. In so doing, you will make your own leadership much more effective and enjoyable for yourself and for your followers.
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