“The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.”-Ralph Nader
But what happens in real life is that we need followers, to be called leaders. Do we have followers who blindly follow or intelligent followers who know what not to follow?
When the leader is mediocre and is ‘all talk and no action’, the followers also will be the same. Generally, “Example has more followers than reason”. Employees start to unconsciously imitate what is easy and eventually end up like those characters they most admire- to do nothing. One of my staff explained this status in one sentence, which I thought was amusing and true. She referred to this group of followers and stated, ” if their boss says donkeys can fly, his people will try to point at a donkey, and confirm it’s flying”. This is foolishly referred to as unquestionable loyalty. These people need to realize that they cannot become what they want to be by remaining as they are!
Behind a leader there must be followers, but they should always be on the lookout for the best and ready to change sides if the current leader doesn’t deliver. Good leaders will create people who have an independent mind to question and decide right and wrong. The teams they create would appreciate the challenges put in front of them and follow because they see a future for themselves, as well. These people will reflect the light that the leader is spreading and therefore, have loyalty based on the benefits gained, rather than blindly follow someone.
The following quotes may illustrate my position, better;
“The good teacher discovers the natural gifts of his pupils and liberates them by the stimulating influence of the inspiration that he can impart. The true leader makes his followers twice the men they were before.” – Stephen Neill quote
“The signs of outstanding leadership appear primarily among the followers. Are the followers reaching their potential? Are they learning? Serving? Do they achieve the required results? Do they change with grace? Manage conflict?” – Max De Pree quote
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”- William Arthur Ward quotes (American dedicated scholar, author, editor, pastor and teacher)