At some point in life, we have all had dreams of becoming a leader. Be it in class as a monitor, in a club as a president, in a team as a captain or simply just a leader figure to your younger siblings. I vividly remember how at a mere age of 10, I was being introduced to leadership positions in school. In the beginning of the year, our teacher walked into the class announcing that she was going to pick 3 of us to become prefects (student leaders), I knew at that instant that I wanted to be of the 3 chosen. So for the next few days, I was always at my best, attempting to stand out in class but sadly to no avail – I was not chosen.
I did not see this as a setback, but instead, I continued trying for other leaderships positions in other areas. In high school, I was fortunately given a chance to be the class president, where I led a class of 25 to various sports competitions and class performances. With great power comes great responsibility, I started questioning myself if I had the ability to lead the class to greater heights, or if there were other people who would have done a better job than me.
I used to have the mentality that if you are not a leader, you will not gain respect from your peers. However, at a school talk, I was exposed to the topic of being an effective follower. An effective follower, is one that does not lead, but contributes effectively to the team. The leader seeks this person for second opinions, the team comes to him/her when in doubt. Through this process of self-improvement to becoming an effective follower, we are indirectly learning to be a good leader.
Everyone has the potential of becoming a good leader, some may be born with attributes that will give them the initial push in life, but some just needs a bit more time and advice from professionals. Time and life experiences will make a good follower a good leader, as long as you have the determination to become one.
I have learned that it doesn’t matter if you start with being a leader or a follower, because being an effective follower is as important as being a leader. The proverb says “a leader without any followers, is just a guy taking a walk “, therefore we should learn how to be a good follower first, in order to become a better leader.