Over the years, a lot of people have underestimated the influence of factions. We disregarded the place of great followership in the narratives of thriving leaders. When superheroes are recalled, we often forget their sidekicks. The focus is normally on the people at the forefront, forgetting those who work behind the curtains. No one pays attention to the people backstage as much as they do for those in limelight.
Granted, it takes a lot of bravery and strong will to attempt to lead a group of people, no matter how small they may be in number. A person could be in conflict with himself let alone bringing two entirely different individuals together in a bid to achieve a particular goal.
But I dare say that it takes a great deal of boldness too to believe in someone else other than you. To the point of giving your mandate and following their instructions with little or no question. The way I see it, that’s a huge risk on the path of the followers too because a leader may end up pursuing personal interests rather a mutual goal.
It is accurate to agree that the follower has as much power or maybe more power than the leader in a collective sense. Simply put, a leader has no one to lead if there are no followers.
So what makes a person a great follower and how do you know you are not meant for the spotlight?
You are decisive
To stand your ground when the going gets tough is an irrefutable quality of a good follower. This is what differentiates a good follower from an easily led person seeking favours. When you have a good perceptive of your priorities, you are able to challenge opposing leaders rather than shy away from policies that are to the detriment of you and everyone else.
You are accountable
People who are reliable and trustworthy are rare. They also make great leaders. You are a person who is bound by their word. You don’t make a promise and fail to keep it. That quality will in turn make you hold others accountable to their promises. You don’t rest until what was promised is done.
You understand that change isn’t a one man affair
Being a great follower is very much connected to your commitment to change. It means you understand that if there will be an improvement in any area of the society, it doesn’t start from the top but from the grassroots. You may not be efficient in coordinating a large group of people but you do your best to ensure you contribute you little quota to the process of change at your level.
You accept your mistakes
A good follower is bold enough to admit failure rather than playing the blame game. Instead of always criticizing the leader, you bear the burden of a letdown as a team.
You are diligent in your work
By doing your job sincerely, you achieve the core elements of followership. This creates more ways for bigger and better opportunities for development.
A good follower views a structure as a body system. When one organ falls short of its responsibility, the entire system is affected. There shouldn’t be any half measures when it comes to living up to expectation at work. It doesn’t matter how trivial your assignments are, ensure you carry them out competently.
You ensure sustainability
Good, skilled followers are able to nurture excellent leadership, by imperceptibly helping keep an inexperienced leader upright and on track. You are not concerned with the differences you have with the leader as long as he carries on with the good work of his predecessors.
We are not all born leaders. But you can still influence the change you want to see as an effective follower.