Follow the Leader

So I saw this post…

… and I thought, well Scorpio is right and that last row seems solid, but I wasn’t so sure about the Followers and Leaders. It made me wonder, what criteria they used to make this determination. Hmmmm.

Leaders and Followers.

Everyone wants to be a Leader. Everyone is supposed to aspire to be a Leader. If someone says they do not desire to be in charge, in control of some sort, they get a mean sideeye. So you just wanna be a follower? You just wanna be a worker bee and not the Queen bee? You don’t aspire to the top?!?

Well I have another perspective…

Leadership is about service. It is about assisting another person, other people, towards their best through motivation and support. It is about being a living example of the growth and development one needs to excel. When people in leadership fail in that, and instead seek validation of themselves through title, use their power to harm, or are simply not there to serve but only to reap, they are leaders in name only.

“Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.”-

“But I’m here to break away the chains, take away the pains
Remake the brains, rebuild my name
I guess nobody told you a little knowledge is dangerous
It can’t be mixed, diluted, it can’t be changed or switched
Here’s a lesson if you’re guessing and borrowing
Hurry, hurry step right up and keep following the leader” Rakim, Follow the Leader

I’ve never aspired to be a “leader” in the traditional authoritative sense. I like to support and motivate as a person-oriented skill but not necessarily in a self-promoting role. I’d prefer to be able to share information as a constant knowledge seeker. My personal life has been inundated with roles of authority, in many iterations, I’m good. But there is great pleasure in sharing knowledge, and very often when that is a part of repertoire you become a de facto leader. It’s a phenomenal responsibility that everyone is not made for… but everyone has to follow someone.

A follower can also be a leader, but all of us are being led in some way. There are a set of checks and balances in virtually every situation where there are hierarchies. Your supervisor has a manager, who has a manager of some sort, who answers to somebody. Essentially a follower is a learner. Someone who is positioned to gain valuable information about a certain thing from a certain person or collective. Followers move the needle. Followers tend to find the cures, create the products, make the products better, perfect the recipe, mix the song, design the costumes, do the work that the leaders represent. Followers are learners, the intellectuals, and some of them only want to focus there. They leave leading to the people who want some semblance of authority, and happily occupy the seat of the worker bee.

Being a follower has been socially constructed to mean being inferior, but those two words don’t equate. There is nothing inferior about the guy who designs the shoe so you can run faster or the lady who discovers the chemical reaction that creates the cure. That person needs the service of support and appreciation from their leader so they can continue to be great.

“As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence … When the best leader’s work is done, the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!’” – Lao Tzu