Be a Better Follower in 2016

Step Two for 2016

Resolution #2

Well, here is part 2 of this quick 4 part series on resolutions that every leader should make as they start the new year. On Monday, I dealt with the importance of being a better leader. And I included some specific resources that will help you along he way.

Now it is time to consider the next step in the 4 part process.

Resolve This Year To Be A Better Follower 

This one is not so obvious. And this one is one that is also considered to be a sign of weakness by some leaders. Those leaders are often more about power and control and less about true leadership. And to them, anything that resembles being a follower makes them feel somehow weaker as a leader. Sadly, they are seriously mistaken.

Every great leader is not a great leader alone. Every great leader has someone that they are following. They look up to someone, they admire someone, they are imitating someone, or they are in some form of mentoring relationship with someone else. These leaders recognize the importance of having someone with experience and in whom they have great faith speak truth into their lives and hold them accountable for their actions that they take. Never allow yourself to begin to think that you are beyond the need to be a follower.

So, resolve this year to become a better follower. This sends a very strong signal to our followers regarding how important being a follower is to our own ability to lead, and by association, how important it is to their ability to lead.

Being a follower is often misunderstood. But being a follower is a noble and necessary aspect of our social and family culture. The truth is that we are all followers in some form or fashion. In fact, not everyone is a leader. But everyone is a follower of someone or something. Even it is only following your own destructive desires.

So, how do we become better followers in 2016?

Make sure you are following the right leader. — This blog is not intended to be an overtly Christian blog. However, I will never shy away from my faith. And I cannot avoid the obvious. If you are looking for someone to follow, I would urge you to consider the words of the Apostle Paul — “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”1 Corinthians 11:1. If you are looking for the greatest example, then follow Jesus Christ. You will never be disappointed.

Make sure that you are supporting your leader. — Your leader needs you. Your leader needs your support and all that “support” can mean. Supporting may take the form of protecting your leader from those who would attempt to distract and detract them from their role. Just as you would like a follower to support you — support your leader.

Make sure that you have established yourself as a well-reasoned and well-informed follower. — A time will come when you will have to speak words of truth and wisdom to your leader. And those words may not be what your leader wants to hear at that moment. But they need to hear them. So, make sure that you have enough “followship capital” in the bank that when the time comes and you need to spend some, there will be some to spend.

Make sure that your motives and actions are correct. — Your leader needs confidence that you do not have ideas of taking over and challenging their leadership. Leadership struggles are more often about power than they are about vision or ideology. You started out following them. So, carefully consider what has changed and what may be motivating you to challenge their leadership now.

If followers are what we seek, then followers we should be. – Kevin Bowser

Tweet this to YOUR followers: If followers are what we seek, then followers we should be.

There is much more that can be said about the importance of being a good follower. But, consider this, if followers are what we seek, then followers we should be. It is important that we model the true nature of following. Followers are not “sheep”. Followers are dogged and determined. Be a great follower.

Bonus section

There are many who have also written on the importance of being a good follower. I would urge you to check these two articles for some additional insights.

Why The Best Leaders Are Great Followers by Michael Hyatt

Followership: The Other Side of Leadership by John S. McCallum

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Leader -|- Follower -|- Guide

I am the husband of a beautiful and wonderful woman. I am the father of two of the greatest kids on the planet. I am a father-in-law to a great young woman. And I am Papa to three very special grandchildren. In my spare time I am an active blogger and writer. And if there is any time left over, I work with small non-profit organizations and churches on the topics of change management, crisis intervention and leadership development.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Billy

    You know sometimes I think it may be harder to be a good follower than to be a good leader. I think for some of us, Leading comes naturally, especially when there are people in your life that force you, or pull you along. Following is different, while your right its not a sign of weakness, there is a piece of it that is submissive. I especially find it hard to follow when my leader is not especially strong. Thanks for being and Leader and a Follower. Miss you Bro!!

    • For many of us, you are right!

    • Kevin Bowser

      You know, for many of us, you are absolutely correct!