First Followers

Beware of a leader who takes lots of credit for a big success.

When I was working on my first book, my book producer reminded me to not think about selling books to the masses. “Books sell one at a time” He said. “Here how it works. One person buys a book and if they really like it, he or she recommends it to another person who buys that book. If this series of events happens over and over, and again and again, your book will be a sales success.”

A book becomes great because of the first follower influences another follower – not because of a publisher’s mass publicity efforts.

The same is true for leaders. A real leader always stands alone at first – just her or him sharing a big and sometimes crazy idea. If after a good while he or she is still standing alone, then they are not a leader, but are just a person with an idea – standing alone. But when one person buys into their idea with enthusiasm, then others start following that follower. Soon more join in and follow the other followers. The person with big idea will be given the credit. However, without a courageous first follower, there would be no credit or success for anyone to give or get.

Which leads me to share a controversial idea. The idea that everyone should be a leader. This makes no sense in the real world, even though this philosophy sells a lot of books and makes many leadership consultants a lot of money. The truth is, brave first followers who are empowered by a leader are the real secret. Ideas start and stick one person at a time. Here’s how it works. A person buys into a big idea and if they really like it, he or she tells it to another person who buys into that idea. If that series happens over and over, and again and again, that leader has a pretty good chance of being successful and seeing something great happen.

Journal Entry: How do you encourage and acknowledge those followers who have consistently supported your success in leadership and life?

2018 Gallup research shows that there are 4 things followers need to experience from a leader: trust, stability, compassion and hope. — From It’s the Manager by Clifton & Hart

The world is moved not only by the mighty shoves of heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker. — Helen Keller

If I had to reduce the responsibilities of a good follower to a single rule, it would be to speak truth to power – with diplomacy. — Warren Bennis

If a man aspires to the highest place, it is no dishonor to him to halt at the second. — Cicero

From Gandhi to Mandela, from the American patriot to the Polish shipbuilders, the makers of revolutions have not come from the top. — Gary Hamel

The greatest among you shall be your servant. — Matthew 23:7 The Bible’s New Testament KJV

You’re gonna have to serve somebody. — Bob Dylan

 

Leadership and Life Journal: A new way to look at the important things you already know.