What Makes a Great Follower?

How to be a good follower

It’s one of the most touching moments in recent movie history, if you ask me.

Recently there was a Lord of the Rings marathon on TV. I hadn’t watched the films since they were in theaters, so I decided to give it a look. And then came my favorite scene.

In the last moments of the last film, Frodo, tasked with destroying the one most powerful ring (the one to rule them all), is exhausted and can’t make it up the fiery mountain. He tells his travelling companion, Sam Gamgee, that he can’t go any farther.

Then, in a stunning moment of friendship and loyalty, Sam hoists Frodo on his shoulders. “I can’t carry the ring for you,” he says, “but I can carry you.” Sam then takes Frodo the rest of the way.

Every time I see that scene I think the same thing – leaders are nothing at all without great followers.

Being a member of a support team is a valuable skill and, in my opinion, one of the most important jobs in the workforce. I have a feeling, though, that there is more focus on making everyone feel the need to be a leader. I mean, when was the last time you heard of a college followership class?

By definition, there have to be more followers than leaders. The math just works that way. So, let’s get over this idea that every business person should be a superstar, and talk about what makes a successful supporter.

1) Great followers their egos.

Leaders have value, of course, but one of their weaknesses is egotism. A good supporter is not preoccupied with gaining credit; they are more interested in seeing a job done well.

2) Great followers value others.

Again, some leaders leave hurt feelings and neglected employees in their wake. Sometimes it is unavoidable. But, a great follower pays attention to the needs of the team and makes sure everyone feels a part.

3) Great followers get the job done.

If you are leader, please don’t think for a moment that you can survive without your support folks. They are the ones grinding out the work, dotting i’s and crossing t’s. Yes, you set the pace, but they bring it home.

As a leader, value and cherish those who support you and make you look good. If you are a supporter, a great follower, be proud of yourself. You are invaluable. I wish there were more of you. And, by the way, thank you.

Thanks for reading.

Who are some super supporters in your life?

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