I would hate to try to estimate the number of words that have been written in books, articles, posts, blogs, and whatnot about leadership. How to be a great leader, what not to do as a leader, what to always do as a leader, the key attributes of a great leader, et.al. Then we can add in all those seminars and coaching sessions to the mix. Lord knows how many of those there are. One would think that the entire human population is striving to be leaders and leaders are seated on the right hand of God. Well, that really isn’t true. Actually, most of those in a leadership position are also followers. Team leaders, department heads, unit managers, and even corporate officers all report to or follow someone above them in the organizational chart. Thus, we can say that few are pure leaders. Perhaps 1% of the working population, 2%? In any case, well over 95% of the workforce is in a follower position.
With all that effort devoted to making leaders good, and with over 70% of the workforce unengaged it would seem that all that verbiage and oratory has been largely unsuccessful.
However, the flow of written and verbal material continues to flow unabated. Most of which simply restates what has already been said dozens of times before.
But, I have to wonder with the vast majority of the working population spending all or a large part of their working lives as followers how is it that no one is writing or lecturing on how to be a great follower? Could it be that we have convinced ourselves that being a follower is somehow demeaning? Does being a great follower smack of a lower class of humanity? Are we thinking that over 95% of the workforce is a sub-set of humanity?
It has long been a practice in military ranks that one must learn to take orders before giving them. One must learn to follow if one wants to be a leader. Could it be that so many of our leaders are failing because they have never learned to be followers?