Following a tweet, over the weekend I was lead to an article on being a follower. Reading this got me thinking about how much time and attention is focused on being a leader and yet we rarely see articles on how to be a good follower.
And we are all followers.
With this focus on leadership, followers are sometimes characterized as sheep, conformists, maybe even lazy. After all, if we were really bringing our A-game, then we’d clearly be the leader, right?
Without realizing it, many of us think this way. And at the same time we’ve also observed situations where there were too many people trying to lead and relatively few willing to dig in and do the work. Not enough participants willing to follow someone else’s lead.
It may be time to ditch this notion that being a follower is a bad thing and focus instead on how to follow well. I know there have been times where I’ve spent too much time focusing on how (I thought) I could lead something better than the leader, which could only result in being a pretty poor follower. Had I been a better follower, it likely would have been better for the organization and probably better for my career, too.
So where are you trying to lead when you should really be following? It’s a question I’ll be asking myself more and more.