Leaders Depend on Followers!
By Dr. Synesio Lyra, Jr.
There are persons who wish to be recognized as leaders on account of a position they occupy. Yet, if no one is following them, the title cannot rightfully be applied to them, and it makes very little difference, if any. The very idea of leadership entails followers, to justify the use and application of the term “leader.”
Interestingly, before anyone can be a leader, he or she must first be a follower also, observing certain guidelines which, then, can be passed on to others who are now following such person. And once someone begins to act as a leader, such person must continue to seek new guidelines and abide by them in the tasks they are to fulfill and the example they must set before those depending on their leadership.
Leadership entails ever learning new paths to take the followers along, with fresh, relevant ideas to inspire and further prepare every current or potential follower. It also signifies being able to revise personal habits and patterns so as to help advance the followers to where they need to go and to what they must experience for the success desired and anticipated! A leader often fulfills some of the same tasks the followers are performing; a genuine leader is not just a distant boss but an involved colaborator.
A true leader should never depend solely on one’s own insights. They may be good, but can also be improved. They may be outdated and require the necessary revisions which others can inform and even help implement. Or they can also be quite bad, and should be prevented from further implementation!
Followers will always need to know where they are going in following their leader, since personal capacities vary, individual limitations are a major factor when it comes to certain aspects of a task which, otherwise, can be achieved with brilliance and legitimate good results.
Leaders, sincerely and proactively, have to consider the best interests of their followers by being clear communicators of their vision and expectations, kind in the face of errors committed, approachable at all times, and never impossible to be reached for any emergency. As I once read, “if you want to be the top banana, you should not detach yourself from the bunch.”
Several institutions have persons who have become leaders by default and who, in so many cases, are incapable of doing the job, in the manner the work needs to be conducted. Unless lines of communication between leaders and followers are perennially open both ways, little progress can be made. Leaders and followers have to study their roles continuously so as to improve them always, as they move forward, whatever the cause or project may be!