People Really Do Follow the Leader

Follow the leader isn’t just a children’s game. It’s a fact of life.

People really do follow the leader. They do what the leader does. They behave as the leader behaves. They act the way the leader acts.

They don’t very often do what the leader says, unless of course what the leader says is the same thing the leader does. As a leader, who you are makes a difference. The most important message you can share is yourself. Your people watch you constantly, they are watching to determine if you’re the type of leader they can trust. 

Here’s the most basic leadership equation of all: trust = follower-ship. Where there is no trust there can be no true following. True following comes from commitment and while a leader’s position may get them the compliance of their people only trust can earn commitment.

If a leader isn’t trusted by their people then don’t be surprised when the people aren’t trusted by the leader. People really do follow the leader.

Everything a leader says and does either adds to or subtracts from their “credibility bank.” Almost nothing is credibility neutral, everything matters. Authentic leaders know that and work to make certain that their words match their actions as much as possible. 

Let me say this as clearly as I can; if your credibility sinks low enough you may have a title or position of leadership but you’re not leading anymore. You can’t be leading because people can’t follow a leader with low credibility. If you have no followers then you’re not leading no matter what your business card might say.

People do follow the leader but only if that leader is a person they can trust. If you can’t pass the trust test then all your leadership efforts will come up short. Your vision will never be realized, your influence will be limited, and your success will be in doubt. 

If you want to be a leader that people will follow then don’t work for a position or title that people will “have to” follow. Instead work to become the type of person they will want to follow. 

Be the type of person they can trust! 

11 thoughts on “People Really Do Follow the Leader

  1. Hello, I really like your post. I just finished putting together a lecture called “Should you follow your leader” subtitle “What the heck is up with those Lemmings” It was a lot of fun to look at the attributes of a quality leader. Far too often, even if employees don’t think they have a good leader they still follow because it is what is expected to keep their job. More leaders need to have mentors that can direct them in quality leadership skills and attributes to adhere to.

    Thanks for the great post!

    1. Thanks Tina, I wonder how committed those followers really are. They certainly appear to follow but when push comes to shove they bail pretty quick. It takes a pretty good leader to earn committed followers, there just aren’t enough of them around.

  2. Sweet blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News.

    Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there!

    Thank you

    1. Thanks, I’m glad you like the blog. I have no idea how to get listed in Yahoo News, I didn’t know the blog was listed there but thanks for letting me know. That’s kinda cool!

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