Engineering blog
04 Nov 2015

You Might Be a Good Leader. But Are You a Good Follower?

The thought of position and power appeals to all of us. But, when it comes to being a follower, we aren’t so stoked.

Who wants to be a sheep-like minion when they can be the king of the jungle? Well, think again. There seems to be an amusing truth hidden within this paradox.

Robert Kelley, who pioneered the concept of followership in… his book, The Power of Followership, says  ‘…effective followers and effective leaders are often the same people playing different parts at different hours of the day.’ In the 1988 issue of the Harvard Business Review, he pointed out the essential qualities of an effective follower.

1. A good follower knows how to manage himself/herself well.

2. Good followers are committed to the organization and to a purpose, principle, or person outside of themselves.

3. Each good followers builds competence.

4. All good followers are courageous, honest, and credible.

In short, they make life easy for their bosses by being self-motivated and goal-oriented. The simple truth is that your boss doesn’t expect you to ‘work hard’ or ‘look busy’. Your boss expects you to get the job done.

A good follower understands that the relationship between a leader and a follower is not about who is more important. It is not about blind submission to orders. Instead, it is about actively participating in the task at hand.

A good follower comes up with ideas and suggestions. He or she is not afraid to question or point out assumptions. In effect, he or she adds value to the boss’s potential.

Like a good leader, a good follower to has integrity and initiative. So, if you are hoping to lead, begin by learning to follow.

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Your Citation

CAD Evangelist. "You Might Be a Good Leader. But Are You a Good Follower?" CAD Evangelist, Nov. 04, 2015,

CAD Evangelist. (2015, November 04). You Might Be a Good Leader. But Are You a Good Follower?. Retrieved from

CAD Evangelist. "You Might Be a Good Leader. But Are You a Good Follower?" CAD Evangelist (accessed November 04, 2015 ).

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