There is a high premium placed on leading or being a leader. The number of leadership summits, school courses and college electives have sky rocketed. In every single country there is a premium being placed on being the fastest runner, the highest jumper and the most forthright individual. All in the hopes that we may lead and not be lead because being lead seems to be a sign of inherent weakness. To lead however is glorious, after all, one remembers Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela or even Stalin or Adolf Hitler they lead. One hardly believes the scores and multitudes who followed them.
Is that a myth?
Is it okay to just follow?
The average population of a country is 34 020 600 people. Here, there will be only one president, vice president or such. In addition to that there well be a group of MP’s or MLA’s (I’m talking about India). In a company, there is going to be a single CEO, a small group of General Managers or even in a task force, of say police officers, there will be a few commanding officers and a host of subordinates. The fraction of those who follow will always outweigh those who lead. Such one may even consider this to be the natural order of things, with one pride of 15 lions having a single Alpha Male.
This is not in any way to be discouraging or pessimistic. If there is a individual who has the deepest desire to lead, she must go ahead and try her had at it. All I intend to say or quote are the facts. Those who are lead always outweigh, be a huge majority those who lead.
However, we have this image of those who follow are passive and mindless clones as what we see in the movies. The typology of the smooth talking leader and the grovelling follower has been perpetrated from time immemorial, from Gaston and Lefou, to the king and his executioner, the red Queen and her servants. What has happened most unfortunately is the suppression of the identity of the one who follows and the popular misconception of the PASSIVE FOLLOWER being the only kind there is when there is so much more.
The Passive Follower does exist but so does the active follower, the alert and uncanny individual who will stand by his leaders side faithfully unless of course, the one who he follows does something against what he believe is right. Take the example of the AAP party in India who had set out to do some radical change in a sea of corruption almost unmissable. However things in the party turned sour when the governance of the party became overly centralized. When this happened, 11 members of the part left including Shazia Ilmi. some prominent members were expelled or left uneasily like Yogendra Yandav and Prashant Bushan the former scathingly saying,
“The kangaroo trials, expulsions, witch-hunts, character assassination, rumor campaigns and emotional theater to justify such macabre acts — all this is so true of the Stalinist regime,”
Even on leaving , he asserted himself and took a stance, he was far from passive.
The point is that the follower is powerful is the way that he can chose who to follow, he can switch alliances if he is not happy with his lot. An intelligent follower is one who does not just hand over his alliance in random, but has a clear picture of his moral grounding, his stance coupled with the grace to move on if necessary. We must to the job not of the doggish foot soldier, but the careful and aware one. This gives the humble follower, a wealth of power which comes from knowing who to vote for, which company to join or where to invest a stock
In addition to this, leading may not be everyone’s cup of tea. odds may be that you are a stellar content writer but not great shakes at project management.
Consider the scenario where everyone wanted to be the Project Manager, then there would be no content writer or image finder or social promoter. In summation there would be no team.
The point ultimately is that the odds are that we may not be the leader of men, but then what we can do,with great skill, is be the aware follower.
Odds then are that there will be fewer Stalinist regimes.
Also, no matter who you work for, and when times get tough, It may do us good to remember Invictus,