Friday, March 29, 2013

Why Must You Follow?

When I wrote the post, 'Why Must You Lead?', I intuitively knew that I would have to come up with another post on 'why must you follow'. But believe me, convincing people why they must lead is not even half as difficult as trying to make people believe as to why they must follow. So,why not take cues from the picture opposite and start understanding some fundamental facts on 'following'. After all, there's a lot to learn from the birds and the bees! After analyzing the picture, I was able to derive the following learning: -

  1. The followers recognize the leader as one of them. This is the most basic trait exhibited across all moving creatures.
  2. There is an unquestionable faith in the leader, either out of belief or ignorance.
  3. Following breeds 'Collectivism' or 'tribe behavior', which is so intrinsic to life.  
  4. In case the leader fails, it forces open other alternatives hence creating an opportunity for the followers.
  5. Following minimizes the risks associated with leading, but allows you to replicate success.
  6. Following leads to Division of Labor - it removes may tasks from the 'to do list' that can be done by the 'nominated leader'.
  7. As leaders in waiting (see the bird immediately behind the leader), followers can quickly analyse what went wrong and make improvements, thereby increasing the chances of success.
  8. Following allows to you mentally participate in the process of leading, hence it must be done well in order to become a good leader.
  9. You cannot lead everywhere, as much of it is situational. If it demands that a tall 'fellow' climbs the obstacle, so be it! You simply follow.
  10. Even by simply being there, a follower is contributing to the mass that believes in the leader (look at the lone bird looking the other way). Every leader looks forward to the support of the followers to gain strength from. Would the 'leader bird' in the picture have made the effort it has, if there were none behind him?
Is there a choice?
Apart from leading, the only available choice is following. Of course, there is seemingly another choice too - Status Quo. But is it really? Is there ever a status quo? Even if you do not act, will things stop from happening? Only a person in a delusional state of mind would accept status -quo as an option.

It is not about Following, it is about How Well Can You Follow
'Followership' is an art in itself. If done well, it can create leaders that are more future-ready than the others! Along with the question 'Why Must You Follow', there are related questions on 'Whom Must you Follow' and 'How must you follow' that also need to be answered to get there. 

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