Date Added: October 2015
The term “follower” is not typically used when discussing leadership. Most believe followers are not leaders; although this is wildly inaccurate.
Followers can be leaders. Individuals who have the ability to influence others through their words and actions. This is a big difference compared to “admirers.”
Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said, “A follower is or strives to be what he admires. An admirer; however, keep himself personally detached. He fails to see that what is admired involves a claim upon him, and thus he fails to be or strives to be what he admires.”
To be an “admirer” is not to be a bad person. These are good people who unfortunately sit back instead of leading. Kierkegaard continues, “The admirer never makes any true sacrifices. He always plays it safe… not so for the follower… the follower aspires with all his strength, with all his will to be what he admires.”
This reminds me of heart and soul inspired leaders. Heart and soul inspired leaders are any individuals, regardless of age, regardless of role, regardless of title; who embraces their personal gifts, strengths and passions to positively impact others and change the world. It seems “followers” are heart and soul inspired leaders – and both can inspire and influence others.
Consider a simple example of those who say they have integrity. Integrity is always doing what is right, seeking to understand others, creating a shared focus, having a realistic sense of what is important, and creating win-win relationships. Followers and heart and soul inspired leaders use integrity for others because they value integrity so much.
Admirers or those claiming to be leaders with integrity are more rigid, believing others should just “get it and do it.” They create win-lose relationships and sacrifice others for their own self interests. They appreciate integrity; however, fail to achieve it.
Integrity is something commonly used in corporate mission and value statements. Something most of us believe we have. This simple example assesses your abilities to be heart and soul inspired leaders who are devout followers, able to influence and inspire others, rather than simply being admirers.
David Yeghiaian is committed to positively impacting the lives of others through faith, inspiration and leadership. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.