Everyone wants to be a leader, less a follower. The real irony lies here. If the soldiers do not follow the instructions of their leader, imagine the consequences. This is true for every aspect of life. The importance of leaders and followers are somewhat equal. But, in one’s life cycle being graduating to a leader from a follower seems to be a better choice and also in most cases a rewarding one. In the early stages of our life we grow up by following our parents as our leader. Out parents lead us in every aspect of our life at that stage. Sometimes, we find more leadership qualities in one of them and we make him or her, our true leader and role model. In most of our actions we tend to emulate him/ her. We become a follower of our father or mother in our early life and try to inculcate the leadership qualities inherited by him or her or both. Thus we as a follower gradually move towards a developing leader. In our school / college, we figure out a leader for ourselves in our teacher, colleague and follow them. We minutely observe their leadership qualities, criticise certain qualities and try to imbibe the qualities that we like into ourselves. After graduation, by virtue of our being a follower for so long we try to break out from being a follower and make ourselves a leader at our own right. This virtue becomes so strong that when we join an organisation we mentally join as a leader irrespective of the position we join. We forget the most important aspect of being into a totally different world that we have to start again as a follower not as a leader. This comes up very clearly when we are made to work in teams under a leader. We follow our team lead but as we ourselves think as a leader, we tend not to cooperate with our team members. Each one of us tries to behave as a leader and it becomes difficult for the team leader to lead the team members to the goal. As this stage of our career, we forget that in this new world we have to again start as being a follower even though we have by this time inherited certain leadership traits. As Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work”, the real emphasis is on finding the opportunity. In the team example, if we start as a follower we will get ample opportunity to show our inherited leadership qualities as we progress along. This is true for the professional life cycle. In the early stages of one’s professional career one will get the desired fruits latter on, if one starts as a follower. By being a follower, one can easily imbibe the leadership styles of successful leaders in the organisation which will be very much handy after growing up in the hierarchical ladder. Another advantage of being a follower is that if someone finds a leadership trait in a successful leader under whom one works that is already inherent in him/ her, it will boost his / her confidence for becoming a leader in future. I have expressed my views and now the choice is on us, to be a leader or a follower.
The Right Choice would be to start as a Follower and then graduate into a Leader with Time.
HR professional with Engineering and PhD.
Successful Task Accomplishment is my Motto....
Honesty, Perseverance, Mindfulness, Leadership, Conscientious, Diligent, Committed.
View all posts by Shyamal Baruah PhD