In my leadership experience there are two kinds of leaders. Every leader has followers or they wouldn’t be able to lead, but among leaders there are those who are willing to lead leaders and those who will only lead followers. Sadly I have witnessed many pastors who fall into “follower only” category, refusing to allow leaders to develop in the church. Their fear of losing control or being upstaged causes them to keep laypeople from becoming leaders within the church.
That’s not to say that we don’t need to lead followers, because of course we do. Some of the best workers in an organization and in the church are those who care nothing about leadership. Plus, it’s hard to be a good leader until one learns to follow. At some point, however, those with the propensity towards leadership in any organization will want an opportunity to lead.
When those who are in the position of followers begin to lead the real leadership skills of the person at the top of the organization are tested. The leader of leaders allows other leaders to develop in the organization, gives them freedom to dream and gives new leaders a sense of ownership in their area of responsibility. They recognize that as leaders develop the entire organization advances and everyone wins. The leader of followers, on the other hand, tries to keep followers from ever becoming leaders.
It’s easier to lead only followers. They will do what is requested of them, they are loyal and not usually as critical. Every organization needs followers. If someone remains a follower, however, they aren’t usually interested in taking the organization to the next level. They wait for leaders to do that.
Reversely, when a person is stifled from realizing their full potential as a leader they will eventually either leave the organization or cause problems within the organization. I have especially seen this take place in the church. The organization as a whole suffers because they are limited to the level of success which can be realized by the intimidated top leader who refuses to let other leaders develop. If an organization allows people a chance to lead the organization’s potential for growth increases immensely.
Decide for yourself. Do you want to lead leaders or only lead followers? Personally, I prefer to lead leaders.