If you study historical leaders, you will find many differences between them. They come from different cultures. Some are male and others female; some are eloquent and others not; some are tall and others short.
One thing that you will find in common among all great leaders is that they are excellent followers. Great leaders start off as great followers and they don’t change. They remain great followers for the rest of their lives. The ability to follow wholeheartedly is a nonnegotiable prerequisite to becoming an effective leader
Here are some attributes of an effective follower.
1. They know how to take and execute instructions well. These leaders are excellent at carefully taking instructions, obeying or carrying out the instructions and reporting back to the leader who gave the instruction. The skill to be able to take instructions carefully and executed without making mistakes is a skill that many people don’t pay attention to and suffer for it. Great leaders, however, understand the power of the instruction and develop the skills necessary to be trustworthy servants of a word of instruction. It takes humility and foresight to be able to focus on growing in one’s ability to take and execute instructions accurately.
2. They know their role well. Successful followers know where their place is within the organization and are satisfied and happy with their own position. They know who is above them and who is below them in formal leadership authority. They have a right sense of self and their identity.
3. They are servants. They have the head, heart, and hands of a servant. They love to do their job happily without grumbling or complaining.
4. They are obedient. A lot of people don’t like the word obedience. To them, it sounds like they are less than others. But that’s not true. You cannot have an effective organization if you don’t have obedient people.
5. They are humble. Humility is at the core of who a great follower is. It permeates everything that I have said above and makes it possible.
6. They are loyal. In the words of Andy Stanley, they are raving fans in the public and wise critics behind closed doors. Great followers never speak badly of their organizations and bosses in public. If they have anything negative to say, the follow the right channel and speak face to face with their leaders. They also stay away from all kinds of gossip.
7. They are great team players. Great followers make amazing team players.