I am sure you are familiar with the saying, ‘Lead, follow or get out of the way.’ There is a distinct relationship between leaders and followers. Some people naturally prefer to lead others, while others would much rather be a follower.
Either way, the clear distinction is this: Leaders lead. Followers follow. Let’s not demean the role of being a follower. If anything, followers greatly influence how leaders conduct themselves. Turns out you can learn to be a good leader by being a good follower.
Sometimes, though, you just may not want to assume a leadership role, and that’s more than okay. It does not mean you are weak or unable to complete the tasks necessary in a leadership role, it might be other factors. It could be personal, the vision of leadership may not be personally fitting and so on. Here are seven reasons why followers may dread to become leaders:
Let’s be frank here: Leadership means you assume the responsibility of being in service to others, including those who follow their leaders. That’s a big role and large shoes to fill no matter the type of leadership role you assume. Being a follower could mean that instead of swallowing the burden of responsibility of leading others and constantly being in service to others, you can concretely provide an outsiders perspective.
2. Would rather not risk their reputation
No matter the role of leadership, if you fail, so does your reputation. It is harsh, but it happens. Regaining that trust from those who follow you after a failure is a difficult thing to regain. However, you should assume a follower-type role, you may have tumbled down hand-in-hand with your fearless leader, but you have saved your personal reputation.
3. Original and innovative ideas
A leader is an innovator. They are a dreamer and someone who can conceptualize innovative ideas to address current needs of their role. Whereas a follower may not specialize in this type of creativity. A follower will most likely be able to assist in the implementation of novel and original concepts that have been asserted by a leader.
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4. Comfortable with complacency
A common trait of a leader is never being satisfied or always seeking a way to do things better. Someone who assumes a follower role may be just fine with how things are going. Whereas, a leader is usually seeking change and looking to implement change in their role.
5. Keen awareness
Being a leader requires keen awareness and that requires dedication to the leadership position. Keen awareness is required in order to be connected with the various audiences you report to, including your colleagues, superiors, followers, customers, and the public. Leadership requires awareness of other people’s needs and their potentials. Followers, on the other hand, learn to read people and understand what may upset and motivate them.
Assuming a leadership role also requires you to take a large dose of courage. Meaning, leadership starts from within. A leader lives and breathes their role twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Now, I am not asserting a follower does not have courage, but I am merely stating that the type of courage that is required of a leader is life-consuming.
Another reason why someone may politely decline a leadership role, which there is nothing wrong with that if anything, it is responsible if you are not up for your personal life being absorbed by a leadership position.
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7. Making tough decisions
Finally, the last reason why someone may not want to land in a leadership role is the aspect of making decisions that are not so easy to arrive at. Sometimes those in leadership roles have to make decisions that are not always the most favorable but are necessary.
Leadership requires an understanding of how to balance emotions with reason. These decisions ultimately should positively impact their followers, superiors, customers and public.
Leadership roles are not for everyone and please know that is more than okay. Being a leader does not mean you are superior to others and being a follower does not mean that you are lesser of a person. Each role has a crucial role within.
Both leaders and followers have a symbiotic relationship with one another when one is out of place the other suffers. Regardless if you are a leader or follower, know that each role asks different things of the individual.