You may be surprised to know that it takes a good follower to be a great leader. Everyone has a boss – whether it’s a supervisor in a factory, a CEO of a Fortune 500 company – or the President of the United States.
All of us have someone that we must listen to and certain rules that we must adhere to. You can be a leader in your own sphere, but you must recognize that you have a boss and know that how you follow can make you a great leader.
There are many qualities of a good follower that make for a great leader. Among the qualities are:
Humility – Just as followers don’t brag or become grandiose about their accomplishments, great leaders should be humble also. Shining the spotlight on others (especially a boss) makes them look good and you look even better.
Clear about their roles – Both followers and leaders are absolutely clear about what role they play in the scheme of things, whether personal or business. Understanding the role you play helps you go on to the next role.
Obedience – A follower who portrays a good role model for others by being obedient to his or her boss demonstrates the need for good organization. If you can’t obey orders, you won’t be able to issue them effectively.
Loyalty – Loyalty to a company, spouse, boss or friend is absolutely essential to being a good follower and a great leader. That doesn’t mean that you can’t disagree with a rule or edict from a leader. Just do it in private rather than in a public forum.
Communication skills – Both followers and leaders must be good communicators. Otherwise, they won’t be able to follow orders or to disagree with them in a way that doesn’t upset the apple cart.
Able to discern good versus evil – There have been many leaders during civilization’s existence who were cruel and evil in their intentions. Hitler comes to mind when we think of leaders who should never have been followed. Only be a follower if your heart and soul tell you it’s good for you and everyone.
All of the above can be extremely beneficial to you and to the world unless it’s taken to a higher level than intended. Hitler took loyalty from his followers, turned it into fear and made them commit atrocities. That’s taking the benefits of leadership into an evil realm.
A leader is only as effective as his or her followers who carry out the decisions made and the tasks accomplished. If you consider yourself more of a follower than a leader, try and cultivate the traits of leadership while becoming a better follower.