One who is never a good follower can never be a good leader. Our society is filled with many leaders and we follow the one which safeguards our feelings, wins our trust and heart and is willing to sacrifice for overall good of people at all the situations. Greek philosopher said, that “He who cannot be a good follower cannot be a good leader.”
Well, a leader may be at the top of the organizational pyramids but he has many obligations and duties to reach the hearts of his followers. It will be a great delight to the leader if he knows every heartbeat of his followers. But in reality, the leader may be far from this point. So now question comes: How can you be a good follower before becoming a good leader? Let’s figure out in detail.
1. Be a Good Leader
His role involves encouraging, inspiring and aspiring and protecting the followers from all bad traits which may disrupt unity.
Therefore a good leader has to be a good follower to understand the depth of fathoms of his people’s desires and their needs. It does not mean a leader will be reactive, obeying only the demands of his/her people – but a good leader should at least understand what those people will demand from their boss.
Remember, he who has worked hard being a follower can be trusted more fully when he becomes a leader. I hope it makes sense, but if not try thinking about a practical example.
A person who gets promoted from clerk to manager can understand more than an individual who was borne in the wealthy family and comes straight from university. As a manager, he will know what to expect from his employees and understands what they expect from him and how to intervene at times of need. Similarly, a leader who is a good follower knows the need of the job and the problems that may encounter with the role and so on and to tackle with.
2. Awareness of Things
Today we have leaders from many backgrounds, with various audiences like board members, customers, colleagues, co-workers and public as a whole. A leader should be aware of what brings them close to you.
Being a good follower enables you to read people’s mind and understand their condition. You can as well know the root causes of their trouble and ways of motivating them to move further in life.
3. Show Courage
Showing courage is not always easy for a leader, but when he follows the people, he can get courage from them. It gives him guts and confidence that are essential to good leadership. It lets you be focused and provides you energy and active support from your group to do a lots more good things. Being a follower teaches you to be aware of the need of other people as well.
4. Develop Collaboration
When you become a follower, it helps you to work with your team, who are also working for the same ultimate goal. It helps how to resolve differences between each of you.
For example, Think about this question. Did Steve Jobs create the Apple iPod or a team of developers developed it? Your answer is a team, with a significant collaboration between the leader and team, led this outcome. So what’s the lesson? As a good follower, you can understand how to work with people and bring the excellent things out from them.
5. Critical Thinking
The more you become a follower, the better you can think from their perspectives to resolve problems. You can gain greater support from your team members too when you implement critical thinking, which will improve your competence and intelligence level further.
A leader always struggles to do best for his followers knowing their requirements. A good follower understands what to expect from a leader and vice versa. At the same time, he has knowledge of a leader’s limitations, probabilities and can apparently assume the effect of his decision on others. To train a person to become a good leader, first we have to teach them to give due respect and honor to followers. Train people to become strong followers and this will enable them to support leaders and be a good leader in future.
Written By: Muppasani Susmitha