Lead Like a Pro: Mastering the Art of Leadership and Followership

Leadership is often associated with taking charge, making decisions, and leading the way. However, true leadership goes beyond just being the one in charge. It also involves knowing when to follow and how to leverage the strengths of others effectively. In this article, we will explore the concept of followership and its importance in effective leadership. We will delve into the benefits leaders can gain by embracing followership, strategies for practicing followership, and the impact it can have on personal and organizational growth.

The Power of Followership

1. Influence and Impact

Leaders who refuse to follow miss out on the opportunity to influence and impact their teams and organizations significantly. By embracing followership, leaders can tap into the potential of their team members and empower them to lead. When leaders invest in others and allow them to take control of their positions and responsibilities, they create a culture of growth and development. The decisions made by leaders today can have a lasting impact on the organization, even in their absence.

2. Personal Growth and Development

Leaders who only focus on leading themselves often limit their own personal growth and development. By rejecting the concept of followership, they hinder their ability to better understand themselves and their team members. True leaders understand that serving others is an essential part of their own journey of self-discovery and improvement. By embracing followership, leaders open themselves up to new perspectives, ideas, and opportunities for personal growth.

3. Exponential Impact

When leaders effectively practice followership, they have the potential to achieve far more than they could on their own. Leaders can accomplish the seemingly impossible by building a team of dedicated followers who are willing to give their all. The power of collaboration and shared goals can drive organizations to achieve remarkable success. Leaders who embrace followership understand the significance of leveraging the strengths of their team members to accomplish great things.

Practicing Followership as a Leader

1. Humility and Learning

One way leaders can practice followership is by humbling themselves and being open to learning from their team members. Leaders should seek opportunities to understand the expertise and perspectives of their team members by asking them to teach them their jobs. By doing so, leaders gain valuable insights, empower their team members, and foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement.

2. Shared Decision-Making

Another way to model followership is by involving the entire organization in decision-making. Leaders can create an environment where decisions are made collectively, allowing everyone to have a voice and feel a sense of ownership in the outcomes. This approach enhances the quality of decisions and fosters a culture of collaboration and mutual respect.

3. Putting the Team First

Leaders can demonstrate followership by prioritizing the team’s needs over their own agenda and schedule. By starting each day by asking the team what they need and organizing their day accordingly, leaders show their commitment to supporting their team members. When leaders prioritize their people, it creates a sense of trust and loyalty, leading to increased productivity and overall team success.

The Last-First Mentality

Leaders who embrace followership develop a last-first mentality, where they prioritize the growth and success of others over their own desires for recognition and achievement. Great leaders understand that leading at following means developing other leaders within their organization. They recognize that their own leadership is incomplete without the ability to follow and empower others. By modelling great followership, leaders inspire their teams to become leaders themselves, creating a culture of leadership excellence.

Building the Right Team

To effectively practice followership, leaders must have a strong self-awareness. They need to understand their own strengths and limitations to surround themselves with individuals who complement their skills. Building the right team involves selecting individuals with diverse skill sets and expertise, creating a blend of technical and relational abilities. Leaders should focus on identifying the relationships and talents that can contribute to the success of the team and the organization as a whole.

Transitioning Between Leadership and Followership

Leaders must be comfortable transitioning between the roles of leader and follower as needed. Recognizing when to step back and allow others to lead is crucial for achieving optimal results. Leaders should not worry about temporarily relinquishing the leadership role, as it allows team members to shine and contribute their expertise. By seamlessly transitioning between leadership and followership, leaders can build credibility, promote collaboration, and foster a sense of shared ownership.


In conclusion, effective leadership goes beyond just leading. It involves knowing when to follow and how to leverage the strengths of others. By embracing followership, leaders can have a greater influence and impact, experience personal growth and development, and achieve exponential success. Practicing followership requires humility, shared decision-making, and prioritizing the team’s needs. By adopting a last-first mentality and building the right team, leaders can create a culture of leadership excellence and empower others to become leaders themselves. So, lead like a pro by mastering the art of leadership and followership.