5 Reasons Why Good Leaders Must Be Great Followers

Every effective general was initially an efficient soldier.

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By Pratip Biswas

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"He who cannot be a good follower, cannot be a good leader."

Aristotle's old adage has never seemed more prescient. Consider the current Covid crisis: It has taken a pandemic to prove that distant, aloof and larger-than-life leaders are no longer effective.

Now more than ever it has become advisable for the modern manager to empathize with, and lend an ear to, those he manages. A study conducted by Kim Peters & S. Alexander Haslam on these two identities has proven that individuals who appear to be ideal followers are often a more popular choice for any leadership position among their peers.

Here are 5 reasons why an individual's personality as a player helps them to be a proficient coach...

Related: Emotional Intelligence is the Secret to Leadership in Times of Crisis

Removal of ego

The egotism of being a leader comes from the sense that their position is crucial for any kind of success. However an in-depth study of followership has revealed that reliable team players are accountable for almost 80% of an organization's success. That's why it is more critical for leaders to let go of any restriction they impose upon free communication between themselves and their employees.

This is where the benefit of being a good follower comes in: The experience of working side-by-side with other members of the crew can help you further down the line to fulfill the demands of modern management as stated above. Removal of ego is the first step towards becoming a better boss.

Quality judgment

Today's employees are particular about who, and what, they are about to follow. Their decisions depend on intrinsic values, life goals and the kind of future they want to see manifest. To make that judgment call they have various solutions on their hand, from social media to advanced news portals.

The quality of making better judgment calls will help you as a leader to understand what your team needs. It is the hook that will make you a more humane captain, able to recalibrate your leadership style with time.

Related: How to Set Goals That Will Turn an Average Team Into All-Stars

Loyalty & commitment

A cause, value or goal without committed followers is an abstract concept. One of the many qualities discovered among good players is the ability to commit to the game plan and stay loyal to it. Ignoring self-important goals while staying committed to the values, morals and team is one of the crucial qualities a leader must have.

The natural path of transformation from a follower to a leader can teach you how to stay committed to the larger picture and ignore the temporary goals. Today's authentic leadership style concentrates more on committing to long-term goals for both the teams and the overall league.


According to Warren Bennis, a pioneer of the contemporary field of leadership studies, bosses are only as effective as their ability to engage employees and no one can deny the importance of communication, coupled with quality diplomacy skills, when it comes to this simple truth.

Being a good follower brings about these skills quite naturally. Working with diverse personalities will act as an automatic training for your communication style, teaching you to effectively share ideas and opinions. The experience of teamwork will also help you to handle the more tricky situations carefully.

It is important for leaders to convey the purpose of set goals to their followers---and not knowing how to inspire your team will start a chain of failures that becomes impossible to break.

Honesty and courage

Eschewing even white lies and casual cowardice is often seen as secondary qualities of being a competent employee. Upon paying closer attention, one can easily see that these are primary qualities of both a good follower as well as a good leader.

Being respectful while approaching the person in the leadership situation, and discussing the efficacy of their strategy, takes courage. The combination of this kind of bravery, honesty and respect is necessary for any leader in a meaningful position.

However, being shut in the ivory tower of superiority, and refusing to communicate with your followers, will not make you an effective leader. This is why good followers-turned-leaders implement the process of an open channel of communication that helps the entire team stay on the same page and continue to progress together.

Related: 7 Qualities That Distinguish Genuine Leaders From Bossy Poseurs

Good followers make for greater tomorrows

The traits displayed by any efficient employee is the basic foundation of great management characteristics. That's why the bosses of tomorrow must make the best of their followership and incorporate what they've learned into their future leadership style.

Pratip Biswas

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

CEO of Unified Infotech

Pratip Biswas is the CEO and founder of Unified Infotech, a full-service digital-transformation agency in New York and India. He is a successful entrepreneur and a tech geek. He likes to write about his entrepreneurial journey. His articles have been featured on Lifehack, TNW, Dzone and more.

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