Great leaders need great followers to succeed. Derek Sivers shares this idea on how to start a movement, and the concept that we need to consider the power of those who follow as we lead. This video is very funny, but yet has some amazing insights into how we support those who support us. Here are some points to keep in mind:
A leader needs to stand out. It takes a lot of courage to be the first person to stand up and do what your passion tells you to do, while others sit and watch, or discount your efforts. Others may say you are CRAZY, but if you are following your dream, stay the course, and you will succeed.
Value your Followers. Those who are willing to step up and follow you deserve your appreciation and support. Early adaptors serve a crucial role in showing others what it looks like to follow. Derek mentions that “the first follower is an underestimated leader themselves; it takes guts to stand out like that.” The first followers will bring others with them, so let them know you view them as visionaries, and that you could not do this without them.
“The first follower is what transforms the lone nut, into a leader.”
Nurture the first follower almost as an equal because it is their willingness to follow you that enables you to be a leader. Not everyone can be the leader; someone has to be the follower. But the follower has a lot to risk too and requires a lot of courage to get up and follow that “lone nut” on the hill until others join in.
Share the limelight. As you share your vision, new business, or product with the world, make sure to not only to show who the leader is, but also who the followers are. Often, new followers will emulate the original followers, and not the leader. As you can see in the video, as more followers join in, getting new followers become less risky, and actually encourage others to follow and avoid the risk being left out of something great. Also note that at the end of the video, the Leader is not even seen anymore; all we see is the movement.
At the end of the day, great leaders need to have great followers, so be intentional in nurturing the relationships around you to help you succeed. Listen to their opinions and concerns so you don’t lose their support. Be ready to step aside and let the followers lead others, so you can go start another movement on a hill somewhere else.