I am a follower and am proud of it: 1st Follower Leadership

The Leader. The Follower. The Supporters. Which one are you?

There’s nothing like the feeling of knowing you can leave matters to other people without fear that it will all go wrong without you being there. That is my definition of sustainability. The fact that it, be it projects, initiatives, businesses, can sustain with, or without you.

Yet this sustainability factor is what I feel is lacking in many of the initiatives I’ve come to know, at least here in Malaysia. Why is that? What could be the problem here?

This is what I have to say.

Once in a while a leader pops in and does something really amazing. Those are the times when you can only gape in awe of how that person is able to do what he or she did. Then come the people who support the things they do, and as they come, they gape, the share, they support, they did whatever they could.

Yet, they would not even try to emulate the leader of whom they support, leaving the leader to do most of the work, in fear that they may not be able to be like their leader with the inhuman strength they possess (or so they think).

In comes the first follower. The follower, without worrying too much about what is needed to be able to perform as well as the leader does, tries to emulate the leader. The follower never saw him or herself as a follower, but as a partner-in-crime, ready to replace a limb or a leg of the leader, when the time comes. The follower takes the initaitive to be PART of the system, and understand the flow of the work, so he or she is able to support the leader to the best of his or her ability. Soon, the follower begins to show signs of commitment to the leader’s objectives, and the leader appreciates.

As the supporters start looking at the follower, who is but a simple person, they soon realize that they, too, can play a bigger role and step up to fill in certain shoes that awaits them, according to their abilities. They too, could see that this follower is but a normal human being, not possessing the skills the leader has, yet is able to do bits and pieces required of him, more than just supporting, liking and sharing of the work. Slowly, the supporters from afar begin to join hands forward, wanting to be part of history in the making. Together, they dare. Alone, they are afraid. But now, with the follower’s guidance (being more human than the leader is), they know they are up for it, and that they CAN.

The Leader. The Follower. The Supporters. Which one are you?
Before this, I did not know, confused between all three.

But now I do.

I am actually a Follower. Be it the first or not, I do not care. I have picked leaders I believe in, and I become their greatest follower. I share their dreams, I put my abilities to the best to push their agendas. I wholeheartedly become one with their desires. It is because I believe in their work and effort, and it is by choice. My ego is such that I know I am good at a certain ability, and therefore it gave me confidence to step the steps which they have taken. And yet, my ego does not prevent me from emulating their methodologies – because I believe that they are right, even if there was a better way. I’ve decided the the role I play in life, is to be the best follower you’ll ever come to face. Who’s to say that all of us have to become a leader anyway?

In fact, who’s to say being a follower is a bad thing, at all? It definitely beats just being a supporter. And if my fellow leaders don’t know it yet (and trust me, sometimes they just don’t realize it anyway because of how they are) – it is because of the followers you have, that you were able to get that far. It breeds sustainability. It breeds successors to your cause. Actually, it helps humanize leaders in such a way that a decent person can follow. THAT is how important being a follower is.

In life, everybody has a role to play. All you really need to do, is know that role, and do a pretty hell of job about it, and you’ll find that you’re able to make achievements that no one else can! More than that, you’ll find that the team functions extremely well when each role is played out super efficiently. Haven’t you realized it?

What if I tell you that being a First Follower, is in fact, a leadership style in its own way? Thanks to @JasonLeeCJ, I’ve finally come to realize that I AM a leader, by being a very efficient First Follower. This is what he showed to me, and I urge all of you to watch this video, too.

Isn’t that an eye opener? It is to me, at least. Derek @Sivers who I got to meet many months ago came back into my life to teach me a super important message – being a follower is the most underappreciated form of leadership – HOW TRUE!

Soon, you’ll realize that you don’t always have to do things you don’t like to do. Or set yourself impossible goals you’ll never get around doing. Soon, you’ll realize that wherever you are now, there’s still so much left to be done to develop yourself in whatever you do. You’ll find out how important it is to work with leaders, and also set an example to the followers. Sustainability & succesion will be the two key words to think about whenever you even begin.

Now, you should realize that you being where you are, is as important as the next person above or below you.

This blogpost is dedicated to all my fellow Followers I have met throughout my life, the awesome likes of @ChenChow and many more. Who else do you think is a follower-leader material? Just think of the person behind your success – that’s who it is 😉

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He is an avid blogger at Spinzer.uS and lives 24/7 on Twitter by the moniker @spinzer. Left Investment Banking to pursue the unleashing of Malaysian Gen-Y's hidden talents by founding the EYE (Empowering Youth Endeavors) Project. He co-founded the Young Corporate Malaysians and assists RandomAlphabets in his spare time. He plans to build a socially good empire out of his social media consultancy outfit called SocialGrooves.com in a bid to turn the world into a better place by 2020.

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