Why do people follow?

The question of why people follow isn’t settled. Is following about leaders or is following about followers? Chances are it isn’t an either or question.

Most leadership books focus on leaders but there is a growing collection of books that either include or focus on followership. For example:

Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow [STRENGTHS BASED LEADERSHIP] by Tom Conchie & Barry Rath

The Life of Manny: Discovering Why People Follow a Leader by Ray East

Followership: How Followers Are Creating Change and Changing Leaders (Center for Public Leadership) by Barbara Kellerman

The Art of Followership: How Great Followers Create Great Leaders and Organizations (J-B US non-Franchise Leadership) by Ronald E. Riggio, Ira Chaleff, and Jean Lipman-Blumen

Beyond Leadership to Followership by Sviatoslav Steve Seteroff

The Power of Followership, by Robert E. Kelley

A few months ago I read Kellerman’s book, “The Art of Followership.” It’s a broad series of essays that oriented me to this topic.


Back to the original question, “Why should anyone follow you?”

Three Reasons People Follow

#1. You have direction. You are heading in a direction others want to go. Your preferred world matches their preferred world.

#2. You have ability. You seem able to make a difference in this world and achieve your objectives.

#3.  You are trustworthy. You don’t manipulate for selfish purposes. You’re focused on helping others not yourself.

I’m still challenged by the question, “Why should anyone follow you?”


What’s your answer to, “Why should anyone follow you?”


Leadership Freak

Dan Rockwell