Who You Follow Influences Who Follows You

Leaders aren’t exempt from following.

In fact, the leader who says he or she isn’t following anything or anyone is a dangerous person.

Every person who fills a leadership position or role is a follower of something or someone. Every leader operates under some type of authority. This authority comes in a variety of forms.

It could be a boss.
It could be a culture.
It could be the rules.
It could be a previous example.
It could be a higher power.
It could be a trusted friend or family member.
It could be a system.
It could be a higher rank.
It could be a code of conduct.
It could be one’s own ego.

Followers have a way of figuring out who the leader follows. They can see it in the leader’s actions, decisions, and character.

Oftentimes, a person chooses whether or not to follow a leader because of who the leader follows. If a leader follows someone or something that isn’t in the best interest of his/her followers, it will undermine a leader’s authority. This frequently happens on a personal level more than an organizational one.

For example, when characteristics like pride, selfish ambition, or personal gain become the authority in a leader’s life, it tears away at the trust, loyalty, and commitment of the followers.

Being a leader doesn’t mean one ceases to be a follower. We all follow something or someone.

If you serve in some type of leadership capacity, your willingness to do these three things will influence other’s willingness to follow you.

1. Identify the authorities in your life.

There are certain authorities you are obligated to follow (the law, your boss, etc). But what about the authorities in your life you have chosen to follow? Are there influences, things like your faith, your desires, or your heroes, that guide your actions?

2. Follow those people or principles that make you a better person.

This is what your followers are trying to do. They hope that by following you, it will make them better people. If the people or principles you choose to follow are slowly tearing you apart from the inside out, it won’t be long until it effects your followers as well.

3. Be the type of leader others choose to follow.

We live in a world with all types of formal authority. People are given position and title, control and command. But influence grows out of leadership that inspires more than it demands.

Your have greater influence with others when they choose to follow you because of your example and vision. Be an inspiring example to the people you lead, that if the tables were turned, they would be the type of leader you would choose to follow.

What do you think? Is a leader still a follower of someone or something?

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://amvaishnav.wordpress.com Ashok Vaishnav

    In fact leading and following can be seen as the two sides of the same coin or links of a self-propellant continuous chain.
    A leader would certainly not succeed in his mission, if he is not as good a follower as good a leader he/she is.
    The picture at the beginning of the article leaves a very strong message in its own way: The path that has led the footprints into the vastness of an ocean [of the leadership practice] shall be open to be wiped out by the waves that shall follow.
    This is the essence of the relationship of the leadership and followership – both require a continual vigil to remain ‘live’ and whoever follows or leads is less important than what imprint you are going to leave.