The Day You Stop Following is the Day You Stop Leading

Everyone follows, especially leaders. You aren’t going very far if you aren’t following someone.

The day you stop following is the day you stop leading.


Follow others in the same way you would like to be followed.

People to follow:

Follow someone who presses into the future.

Listen closely to the orientation of the people around you. People with experience may long for the past. Follow them at your peril.

The person pressing into the future makes others uncomfortable. Future-builders don’t care about stability enough. 

The opportunity of disruption is letting go of the past.

Tip: Disrupt yourself more than you disrupt others. 

Follow someone different from you.

If you are older, follow someone younger. Some of the biggest changes in my life resulted from following the suggestions and passion of young people. Follow a different gender, race, or nationality. Follow someone from a different business sector.

Don’t allow their frailties and limitations to be the reason you reject their insights or approach.

Follow someone who’s frustrated about something.

Determine if they want to do something with their frustration or just complain. Don’t follow complainers.

How might you translate the energy of frustration into a positive force for change?

4 ways to be a leader who follows:

  1. Be enthusiastic about the ideas of others. Don’t spend so much time pushing your own ideas. Adapt to someone else’s way of thinking, without violating your own values.
  2. Try behaviors that others suggest, even when they feel awkward. The more uncomfortable a behavior feels, the greater it’s potential to change you. If you only do what’s comfortable, you’ll only go where you’ve been.
  3. Say, “Let’s try,” when your natural inclination is to say, “No.”
  4. Talk about things you’re learning. Reject the self-defeating need to appear like you already know.

What does being a leader who follows look like to you?

What potential advantages or dangers do you see in being a leader who follows?