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Are Followers the Leaders of the Future?


Guest articles > Are Followers the Leaders of the Future?


by: David Clissitt


How many times have you have you heard the term “leadership” in the last two weeks?

Most organisations focus on their leaders, offering training and development opportunities to the bright young leaders of the future.

How many times have your heard of term “followership” in the last two weeks?

We all know leaders need followers but do we really place as much emphasis on followers as we should?

Probably not, which is surprising, because leadership is an interactive activity: leaders depend on followers and vice versa.

Why do people follow?

What makes a great follower?

If the leaders of today understood what is that makes people want to follow and what it is that makes them good at it, then they’d be able to create followers that have a chance of becoming great leaders of the future.

People won’t just follow someone just because they’re told to. A leader can’t just say ‘follow me’ and expect people to follow without question. There has to be a reason, a purpose and a greater good.

So how do we create great followers?

Here are my top five tips for creating great followers:

  1. Encourage your followers to think for themselves; don’t restrict them, allow them to be creative and innovative
  2. Encourage your followers to embrace change
  3. Allow your followers to challenge you; they’ll grow from it
  4. Influence your followers to be solutions focussed
  5. Demand open and honest communication at all times

As Dwight D Eisenhower once said “Effective leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because they want to do it.”

With this in mind I suppose the key to becoming a great follower is having a willingness to follow. Ask yourself this question; will people be willing to follow you if you’re restrictive as a leader?

The answer is NO!

Remember, today’s followers are our leaders of the future!


David Clissitt is a Director of Training with t2 Management Training, a leadership and management training company based in the UK. For more information on the types of qualifications and programmes they offer, please visit

Contributor: David Clissitt

Published here on: 09-Oct-11

Classification: Leadership


MSWord: Are Followers the Leaders of the Future - Liberty Edit.doc

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