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.