Are You A Leader Or A Follower?

It’s an old question of the day set on by Quofda.com, but Estarla set about answering the question which in turn made me think of my own responses (does that make her the leader here?). But before that, I’ll put down the definitions for a leader and follower, for my sake and yours so that we understand where we’re coming from.

Leader – A person who rules or guides or inspires others.
Follower – A person who accepts the leadership of another.

The common stereotype of a leader is someone who’s in charge. Normally someone higher up the hierarchy. Your parents, your boss, some older senior who’s picking on you all the time, someone who makes the final decision and tells you what to do. They dictate your role and you’re expected to follow making you the stereotypical follower.

The pattern of being a traditional leader or a follower is built over the respect of a social status, the knowledge and ignorance between the leader and the followers and fear of repercussions by the one in charge. At the end of it, this is what most people know and understand because at it’s most basic levels, this is all too often true.

But being a leader or a follower doesn’t always equate to a how you appear in public. While I still define a leader as someone who makes the final decision, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the most public figure displays true leadership. A poster boy can command an audience yes, but if what they say and do aren’t actions of their own, then by all means, they aren’t leaders.

All too often the illusion of who is in charge is overlooked by the masses who only understand that what you see is what you get. If leadership is based on the one who makes the final decision, then those who work behind the curtains to place, to inspire and to guide the public figures around are the real leaders. To that end, a person can be your boss, but they can never be your superior.

The same can be said for dominant/submissive relationships. To those unfamiliar with the world, it is the submissives who have power over the dominant partner because at the end of it, it is the submissive who ultimately dictate how far they can go. This kind of inverse powerplay is more suited in the world today where the lines are blurred between our roles in society and our understanding of our individual persona.

Now, I can answer the original question because I know I am not a follower. I do whatever I can to dictate the eventual outcome of the life ahead of me. Irrespective of who I bow my head down to, every one I know has their place along my life and every action I take is with a purpose. I know, I will never have the ability to become an actor on the stage, but I do know I have what it takes to be the director and producer behind the scenes. If there is a goal to something, I will produce a storyline towards that end.

So am I a leader? Not if you want to count me as a public figure. But as someone that can orchestrate and execute plans within plans. I know now that I fit that bill. Chances are, I won’t be remembered down in history as someone who did something great, but in great people are the small deeds that they do with great passion and commitment. Maybe that’s how a leader should be, at least one I aspire to become.

7 thoughts on “Are You A Leader Or A Follower?

  1. A leader or a follower? A very subjective question for me. I always manage things according to the situation. Whichever is best for the situation, I’ll take the choice. I’ll be a leader if I think it’s the best to do things but if the situation not allow I’ll be a follower.

  2. Good stuff – though you did throw me for a loop on including dominant/submissive relationships. That is a new one in my vocab (ok even past that – my comprehension) so that will take more to ponder. 😉

    Indeed, I think we can both agree that inspiration and otherwise behind-the-scenes influence is leadership. Definitely what you see isn’t what you necessarily get.

  3. Hyperx: Being a leader isn’t the same as taking charge when the need calls for it. It’s more primal, because even while those who lead might not know, but they choose to make the judgment call to know or use people who hold on to that knowledge. Where you lie on that end is something you ultimately have to discover.

    Esther: Haha, it’s the first thing I thought about actually in regards to leading and following. Well I’m always free to discuss that with you if you like. How about what you see isn’t always the right place to look? Kinda like looking for your lost keys, always out of sight even though you’re staring at it directly.

    3POINT8: Why doomed? While people who are born or are nurtured to be leaders bear the responsibility of those who follow, they would never think for once that it is a bad thing. It is just something they either need to do or something they love to do.

  4. While leadership can be taught in textbooks and throughout one’s life, I strongly believe we have a tendency to be one or the other, though it can sway at times depending on circumstances. Being a follower doesn’t make you a lesser person. From my experience, people excel under the right circumstances. I’ve had people gravitate towards me for leadership and they’ve ended up giving their best. At times it seems like we’re doomed to lead others as 3POINT8 mentions, but we do what we do best, and I wouldn’t want it any differently.

  5. Yeah Cléa, people should do what they do best, regardless of whether of not they lead or they follow. Some things can’t be taught, but a lot of things can be understood. I still don’t get the doomed reference. If you don’t want it any differently. If you love it. It’s exactly where you should be. Nothing bad about that, even if you are a follower.

  6. A very nice post which keep my mind racing for ideas.. good work!
    And I am still with my point, I am both follower and leader.. 🙂

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