One of the speakers at TEDxRamallah said something pretty intriguing. It was in a video they showed from the original TED. I have no idea who it was having missed the beginning of the video ;). However, they said that leading isn’t the big deal that people make it out to be. After all, the leader doesn’t start a new trend. The first follower is the one who makes a trend. It’s that first person to take a leap, to jump in behind the leader who is doing something so crazy that it seems unimaginable.
How interesting is that concept. In many ways, I find it to be very insightful. After all, how many leaders find an exciting, revolutionary path but fail because the followers just don’t come? Now, I’m not like the average Jordanian in many ways. Mind you, I’m also not like the average Southerner in many ways. I’ve always marched tot he beat of a different drummer. At times that has made me a leader, at others it just made me odd. Quite frankly, I was always fine with that… I still am. But hearing someone articulate the fact that being unusual doesn’t make you a groundbreaker or a leader, necessarily, is very interesting. I still think that being your own person has a lot to recommend it. Not following every trend is a powerful way to ensure that the values you have are yours not someone else’s. But, imagine the power of understanding followership.
Every leader and every aspiring leader could benefit greatly by understanding that the first followers must be cultivated, welcomed, and made to feel special. By nurturing these early followers, you can build a movement. Ignore them and you may end up a lonely voice calling in the night…