TRUE LEADERSHIP IS FOLLOWERSHIP
“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1 KJV)
This statement from Paul is crucial to the concept of leadership, whether spiritual or secular. Leadership principles hold true in every sphere of human endeavor.
A true leader is a follower. The identifying mark of authentic leadership is having someone you too follow as much as others follow you. That is why I would advise you to never follow a man/woman that is following no one else. The root of a tree determines the sustainability of its fruits, not otherwise. (I say this because a lot of young leaders go off pursuing shadows while leaving the substance. Before you follow that person, check to see who they are following.)
A lot of leaders, both veteran and emerging, need to have a rethink where this subject matter is concerned; most especially in this part of the world where I live – Nigeria, to be precise. Followership is not a thing to be ashamed of. Rather, arrogance, the inability and unwillingness to acknowledge your source is the companion of pride, which is the Achilles’, heel of many a leader.
Napoleon Hill, author of the classic, Think and Grow Rich, wrote in the same about where leadership begins. In effect, he said, “It is no disgrace to be a follower…Most great leaders began in the capacity of followers. They became great leaders because they were intelligent followers. With few exceptions, the man who cannot follow a leader intelligently cannot become an efficient leader. The man, who can follow a leader most efficiently, is usually the man who develops into leadership most rapidly. An intelligent follower has many advantages, among them the opportunity to acquire knowledge from his leader.”
True leadership begins with following. From the Garden of Eden, man’s authority to rule and lead had been contingent upon his ability to follow instructions (see Genesis 1:26). If you have never learnt well to follow, you won’t be able to lead. It is in learning to follow someone that you gain the experience, the authority and the grace to lead another person.
Leadership does not start with leading, it starts with following. Joshua started out in leadership by following Moses. Timothy learnt from Paul. Elisha followed Elijah. The twelve apostles followed Jesus. Samuel followed Eli, the prophet.
And that last example is very instructive. No leader is perfect. He/she is still human. And as such is bound to have flaws. But following a bad leader is better than following no one at all. If the fellow can’t teach you or model for you how to lead properly, at least you will learn how not to lead! Some folks need to consider that before bailing out of their divinely-orchestrated training program.
Your authority to lead is derived from your submission to another leader. As leaders, we are not laws unto ourselves, we are under-shepherds; following Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep.
To keep leading, keep following. Think about this and the Lord will give you deeper understanding. YOU WILL SUCCEED!
Posted on January 14, 2012, in Attitude, Christian Leadership, Church, Destiny, Excellence, Mentoring, Ministry, Personal Development, Spiritual Growth, Success and tagged Leadership, Mentoring, Spiritual Life, Success. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.